Opening 17 Nov 2022
Seventeen-year-old Tim Walker (Jack Wolfe), from London, wins a scholarship to the Mozart International Boarding School, located in the Austrian Alps. Tim, who plays the piano and sings, moves into the all-boy dormitory, sharing a room with Paolo (Elliot Courtiour). They are rehearsing the opera The Magic Flute, and Tim auditions for the role of Tamino by singing a song from Bocelli. Across the valley is the girls’ dormitory; Sophia (Niamh McCormack) becomes his friend. Another student, Anton (Amir Wilson), feels special because his mother Erica Milanesi, helps run the school. He bullies Tim and Paolo. Tim finds an old book in the school library. It has magical capabilities, and by shoving the book into a special slot in a bookcase, he is automatically transferred to another world where he is immediately attacked by a huge snake. Here the real story of The Magic Flute unfolds with Tim in the main role of Prince Tamino. He befriends Papageno (Iwan Rheon), the bird catcher, who is searching for a partner. Prince Tamino tries to free Pamina (Asha Banks), who has been captured by the evil high priest Sarastro and imprisoned by King Monostatos. Prince Tamino intends to return Pamina to her mother, The Queen of the Night. The magic flute will protect him.
This excellent storyline goes back and forth between the music school and the actual opera. The stories progress parallel and stress the importance of “nature, reason, and wisdom.” We have a story about a teenager with the usual problems of friendships, studies, and acceptance. We have true scenes from Mozart’s opera which premiered 1791 in Vienna, just two months before the death of Mozart. I definitely recommend it to all opera fans and their children, 10-years and older, who will recognize the story, of course. I also recommend it to anyone unfamiliar with, or skeptical about opera. This is an excellent first experience in the world of opera. It opens new perspectives while entertaining in ways not only associated with opera. It’s wonderful to see the young actors Jack Wolfe, Elliot Courtiour, and Amir Wilson playing teenaged boys. Music by Mozart predominates, but there are also four modern, popular songs. This is director Florian Sigl’s first film. He also has experience working in classical music. (Becky Tan)