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When The Queen of the Night appears there is no stupendous stage coup -- she simply walks through one of the doors albeit surrounded by a plethora of twinkling lights. But Victoria Joyce made up for this with her fine musical performance; she made quite a light-voiced Queen, but she has far more than just the notes. She succeeded in singing the Queen's fearsome music with a good sense of line and a feeling for the music, rather than just screaming the top Fs. That said, I would actually rather have liked to hear her as Pamina! Given the size her voice, this role would seem to fit her better in bigger houses than Grange Park.
As her daughter Pamina, Elizabeth Atherton had a strong stage presence, and was no walk-over. She sang the music with a nice sense of line and much warmth in the voice. A stronger hand in the pit might help her become a finer Mozartian stylist.
Monostatos was, inevitably, not black faced. Instead he wore an eye patch and was horribly disfigured of face. Richard Coxon made a vivid Monostatos, succeeding to portray the character's evil nature whilst not overdoing the cariacature.
When Tamino approaches Sarastro's domains the middle door opens to reveal the house within, complete with a Jacobean fireplace. The speaker, the excellent Christopher Adams, is dressed in some sort of 18th century academic robes. The chorus, when they finally appear, were dressed as Sarastro's retainers, armed with all sorts of improvised weapons to fight off Tamino.
Sarastro was in formal 18th century gear. Jeremy White has the imposing stage presence, resonant voice and lovely speaking voice to make Sarastro a strong part. His Sarastro was enviously noble and warm without ever seeming too priggish. As with a number of the cast, my only complaint was the feeling that his singing lacked the essential feeling for Mozartian line.
Copyright © 7 June 2007
Robert Hugill, London UK