There were awkward passages with alabaster puppets of Tamino and Pamina
being clumsily manoeuvred over the wellused stage, until at last the singers were liberated from all this flummery and we could get on with the matter in hand.
Falling short of Enlightenment, the earthy Papageno and his mate Papagena are happy with their sensual pleasures of food and drink and, unlike Tamino and Pamina
, they do not aspire to higher values of wisdom, truth and spirituality.
Tamino and Pamina
wore present-day Western clothing, while the attire of the rest of the cast suggested their place in either the natural world or their position in First Nations society.
At the same time its lovers Tamino and Pamina
- the principal 'human' (as distinct from 'symbolic') characters - have to develop convincingly.
And when lovers Tamino and Pamina
reach their nirvana, it is like a Dali artwork with a magic eye and three huge hands.
Two couples, Tamino and Pamina
and Papageno and Papagena, are besieged by evil servant Monostatos, High Priest Sarastro and the Queen of the Night.
Schikaneder's plot revolves around the Queen of the Night's attempts to test the constancy of Zatiberflote's two couples--Papageno and Papagena and Tamino and Pamina.
Both women reveled in the brief comical, lubricity when ensnaring Tamino and Pamina in their arms.
The more refined courtship of Prince Tamino and Pamina
was not reflected in their attire (baggy shorts with rugby shirt and sensible 1980's suit respectively) and while Eugene Ginty struggled for glamour despite power, pristine diction and very competent magic flute playing, Rebecca Watson sang gloriously.
Initially, Tamino and Pamina
wear contemporary street clothes, donning native attire at the end of the opera to symbolize their personal transformations.
This was reinforced by a similar lack of dignity on the part of Tamino and Pamina
, whose stage actions suggested the stage world of Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum rather than a prince and princess in the process of being initiated into the world of Masonic enlightenment.
Among the other cast members, John Tessier and Meredith Hall made an attractive, if less than vocally distinguished, Tamino and Pamina
, Erin Windle grew in confidence as an initially tentative Queen of the Night, Gillian Keith produced pleasant enough sounds as Pamina and Curtis Sullivan declaimed the Speaker's words as if barking through a megaphone to a political rally.