AFTER more than a year of Covid-enforced inactivity, York Opera will be taking to the stage again from Tuesday in a production of Mozart's operatic fairytale The Magic Flute.

Rehearsals began in September, and have been in full swing over the last couple of weeks.

The opera, a dark fairytale, takes the form of a Singspiel - which means it includes both and spoken dialogue.

It opens with Tamino, a prince lost in a foreign land, being pursued by a monster. He is rescued by three mysterious women, who kill the monster and give Tamino a picture of Pamina, the daughter of the Queen of the Night.

Tamino instantly falls in love with the princess, and sets out to rescue her from the evil Sarastro, armed only with the gift of a magic flute and some magic bells - and with the assistance of the bird-catcher Papageno.

Soprano Heather Watts will sing the challenging role of the Queen of the Night. Heather, who grew up in the USA, studied music at the University of Texas and later at the Royal College of Music in London and the Mozart Academy in Salzburg. Now living in York, she is also a well-established singing teacher.

The rest of the cast includes some faces (and voices) who will be familiar to York audiences - but also some new names taking on their first roles with the company.

Foremost among the newcomers is David Valsamidis, is a bass-baritone who graduated with a Masters in Vocal Ensemble Performance from the University of York in 2021 and who takes on the leading role of Papageno, the bird catcher.

  • York Opera in The Magic Flute, York Theatre Royal, November 2, 3, and 5 at 7.15 and November 6 at 4pm. Tickets from the Theatre Royal box office on 01904 623568 or