Theatre Critics: The Magic Flute, The Sage Gateshead

THE Northern Sinfonia’s latest concert at The Sage took its title from Mozart’s overture to the Magic Flute, a work that did not quite seem to take off under principal conductor Mario Venzago.

The evening stepped up a gear when the sinfonia’s principal flute, Juliette Bausor, gave a spellbinding account of Ibert’s Flute Concerto.

The opening movement, with its daring runs, was keenly articulated. Bausor’s delivery was flawless, and had every scintillating note cast in sparkling relief as she took her instrument to the limits of its range. She enjoyed a witty repartee with the orchestra, including a lovely exchange with the bassoon.

The contrasting slow movement was played with a heartfelt conviction, with its long lines lovingly shaped. The last movement was breathtaking in every sense, with its jazzy inflexions given thrilling twists.

In interview given earlier to BBC’s Radio 3, Bausor said the challenging work had a special place in her heart, having studied it while training in Paris. She did it full justice.

The following work was by Schoeck, a Swiss compatriot of Venzago, who has languished in obscurity for many years. Venzago made a good case for his Sommenacht, which remains the most played of his neglected works.

The evening was rounded off with Dvorak’s Seventh Symphony.

Venzago set a blistering pace in the outer movements – perhaps a tad too driven – with the magic flute of Bausor back in action within the ranks.

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