What a disgusting and nasty final sentence. There's no need for a full-blooded voice on film. It just comes across as ludicrous. What this role needs on film is someone who can act. Try finding that in the opera world!
The Magic Flute
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Tue Nov 27 2007
Despite Opera magazine’s squawky hissy fit, Kenneth Branagh’s treatment of Mozart’s last masterpiece (libretto: Stephen Fry) is no more outrageous than most modern concept stage productions. The characters move between the parallel universes of WWI’s trench-sliced wasteland and the fairytale quest, brave prince with birdman sidekick. Apart from a fascination with the hate-spitting mouth and throat of Lyubov Petrova’s vocally pyrotechnic Queen of the Night, the visual gimmicks are individually tolerable. But they don’t add up to anything particular.
A ravaged landscape, the Three Ladies as nurses, Papgeno’s birds as gas-detecting canaries, the Queen whizzing through the sky like Dracula: Branagh’s intriguing perpetual night-world actually captures the feeling of trial by ordeal before emerging into the sunny uplands of peace and fulfilment. Occasional self-conscious references include the flute thrown into the air and freezing, a visual echo of ‘2001’, and the camera panning back to reveal rows of graves (‘Oh! What a Lovely War’) – the old Branagh too-clever-by-half trick not really amounting to much. The music’s well served by the Chamber Orchestra of Europe under James Conlon, with Canadian Joseph Kaiser’s personable if slightly tight-voiced Tamino and American Benjamin Jay Davis’ Papageno (fine when singing, toe-curling when clowning). René Pape is a rusty-voiced Sarastro (not a patch on Ingmar Bergman’s Ulrik Cold). The adequate Pamina is one of those light, white-voiced, very English sopranos unsuited to opera’s full-blooded demands. A recent Cambridge graduate who’s confessed to never having heard of Kiri Te Kanawa, she should stick to Baroque nymphs and shepherds.
Author: Martin Hoyle
Fri Nov 30, 2007