|Raphael Bremard (Monostatos) and Malia Bendi-Merad (Queen of the Night)|
The singers, all strikingly lyrical, created portrayals that avoided caricature and worked admirably together as an ensemble. Some German was accented, and the French wasn't, but they were perfectly comprehensible in both languages. Raphael Brémard's Monostatos was more ambitious functionary than evil henchman, and he handled his stage business well. At its most rapid his patter got a little muddy, but he sang expressively. Dima Bawab made a delightful Papagena, gleefully squawky in her interpolated song (Mozart's setting of "Die Alte,") and sweetly pert in her duet with Papageno. As Sarastro, Luc Bertin-Hugault glowed with benevolence, and his warm lyric bass glowed too. Malia Bendi-Merad was a charismatic Queen of the Night, and the chiseled precision of her coloratura drew from the audience a reaction just short of an audible gasp. I could have wished for more legato phrasing from Tamino and Pamina. However, Jeanne Zaepffel sang sweetly and gave Pamina a very moving dignity; Adrian Strooper was convincing both in confusion and steadfastness. He didn't get to sing "O ew'ge Nacht," but the lightly-spun "Dies Bildnis" was transparently besotted.
|Bawab and Dolié; (c) Pascal Victor|
Tickets are still available for "A Magic Flute," which runs through July 17 with alternating casts.