A perfect introduction to opera for especially children...
Let's Make an Opera is not my favourite opera of Britten's(I always have preferred Peter Grimes, Albert Herring and Billy Budd), however of his work along with A Young Person's Guide to an Orchestra it is his most accessible to a younger audience. This film directed by Petr Weigl(who also directed the brilliant 1988 Eugene Onegin) of Let's Make an Opera is not quite on the same level as the ENO productions for example I have seen of Britten's operas, or as good as his film of Turn of the Screw. However, it serves as a perfect introduction to opera for children or newbies to opera. The lip-synching/dubbing was lacking for me, as it can be with filmed opera, with the actors' mouths not always in sync with the music and singing. However, right from the colourful prologue(here enriched), the costumes and sets are handsome and the slap-stick comedy is witty, fun and not too heavy-handed. Britten's music is beautifully performed by the instrumentalists and authoritatively conducted by Simon Halsey. The mini-rehearsals where the audience run through what they will sing are a delight, and the children look adorable and sing very nicely. As is the acting, with Lukas Vacucik suitably brutal as Black Bob, Jirina Jeraskova a kindly mother-like figure and Dagmar Veskmova beguiling. I have even better news in regard to the singing, Felicity Palmer I've always admired and she gives her two roles in the play and opera parts of the film a sense of benevolence and character, while Kate Flowers is as beguiling in voice as Veskmova is on screen. John Graham Hall has a nice appealing voice, Stephen Richardson brings a lot of enthusiasm to his roles and Lisa Milne sings beautifully with a more controlled vibrato than I've heard before and in general is much more involved than her Micaela in David McVicar's Carmen. All in all, a very interesting and well done film of an opera like Mozart's Magic Flute is ideal for introducing children to such a wonderful and fulfilling form of music. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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