Fife Opera: Mozart’s Magic Flute and ‘magic really is the key word’

Rehearsals are currently under way for the Fife Opera production
Rehearsals are currently under way for the Fife Opera production

Fife Opera is preparing to celebrate its 40th anniversary with a new production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

The company will be performing the fairytale at the Adam Smith Theatre in Kirkcaldy from Wednesday, November 1 to Saturday, November 4.

Chosen for this year as it is one of the world’s most loved and performed operas, The Magic Flute is a magical piece that can be enjoyed by all ages.

As well as being a favourite of opera lovers, it’s a great first opera for novices as the music and the story are highly accessible.

For 2017, Fife Opera welcomes Kirkcaldy-born Douglas Nairne to direct the production.

Having grown up singing with Fife Opera, Douglas has gone on to enjoy a career as an operatic baritone with engagements in London, New York, San Fransisco and St Petersburg as well as performing in Scotland with Scottish Opera.

The Fife Opera chorus

The Fife Opera chorus

He is known to audiences as co-founder of Opera Bohemia and last year he directed their acclaimed production of La Traviata.

Douglas is excited to return to Fife Opera to direct The Magic Flute and has decided to tap into a magical world to bring the production to life.

There’s magic wands, spells and a special new version of the dialogue written by Douglas.

He said: “I first performed with Fife Opera when I was about eight years old so I know the ocmpany very well and grew up watching it, so to come back now and direct a production is something very special and it’s been a lot of fun.

The junior chorus

The junior chorus

“The story of The Magic Flute is basically your classic good over evil.

“Tamino and Pamina meet and they fall in love.

“Actually they fall in love before they’ve even met each other.

“The story is basically about Tamino and Pamina and what they have to overcome in order to be together.

“I’ve rewritten all the dialogue and I think the key is the word magic.

“We’ve really tried to tap into the word magic in terms of the title of the opera. There’s lots of wand swishing and spells being cast.”

Over the years, Fife Opera has a great history of attracting fine singers from across the country as well as showcasing the local talent in Fife.

And this year is no exception with two casts of soloists taking on the principal roles.

The principals include some of Scotland’s most talented amateur singers as well as students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and young professionals.

The company continues to nurture young talent, with the junior chorus taking shape in the last few years under the leadership of Rosemary Nairne.

They will feature as a chorus of spirits in The Magic Flute and are having great fun with all the magic spells that have been incorporated into the production.

The chorus is the heart of the company and many of the members are involved in running the organisation in all the preparations that go into staging an opera each year.

They have been busy rehearsing with musical director Alistair Digges, who returns to the company for his fourth year.

And as the performances draw near Alistair says the icing on the cake is added as rehearsals with the orchestra begin.

He said: “Douglas is keen to really tap into all the magic in the opera and is doing something very special with it indeed.

“Fife Opera has a great history of attracting fine singers to work with the company and this year is no exception. As well as attracting lots of local talent we also have some international singers joining us in principal roles.

“It very much is a family show.

“There’s lots of humour as well as exciting drama and of course, wonderful music.

“There are lots of recognisable musical numbers in the opera including the Queen of the Night’s famous show stopping arias which feature some of the highest notes ever written for the human voice.

“Staging an opera is a big undertaking but one which Fife Opera relishes the challenge of each year.

“The Magic Flute promises to be one of our most exciting projects in recent years and to be a truly magical set of performances.”

Fife Opera’s The Magic Flute runs at the Adam Smith Theatre from November 1-4. Tickets are available from the theatre’s box office.