Thursday, March 9, 2023

YAs and Mozart? Hey, the music's good


    The Magic Flute, Mozart's acclaimed opera, has gone YA.
    Director Florian Sigl creates a hybrid production that combines a fanciful effects-laden production of Mozart's opera with a tale about kids at an elite boarding school for budding musicians.
    Jack Wolfe, seen in Netflix's Shadow and Bone series, plays 17-year-old Tim, an aspiring singer who's sent to a prestigious Mozart academy. The stern Dr. Longbow (F. Murray Abraham) presides over the school, sort of a Hogwarts for musical prodigies.
    Sigl splits the film into intertwining parts. One involves the life of the school and plays like a typical teen movie. In the movie's more fantastical segments, Tim travels through a magic portal and winds up in Mozart's opera.
    As Prince Tamino, he wanders the opera's enchanted landscapes with the mischievous Papageno (Iwan Rheon). The two must survive various tests to subdue the Queen of the Night (Sabine Devielhe) and find true love, Tamino with Princess Pamina (Asha Banks) and Papageno with Papagena (Stefi Celma)
   Sarastro (Morris Robinson) opposes The Queen of Night; he poses the tests and gives the proceedings a heavy bass voice. 
    For me, the FX-dominated world in which the opera unfolds beat the boarding school environment,  a place to touch on many usual teen concerns.
    Then there's this: The movie may work as an introduction to Mozart for tweens and teens. Otherwise, it seems unclear for whom the movie was made.
     The singing, by the way, is in English, as is the rest of the movie.  It's hardly surprising that the music is good.