If you’ve ever found The Magic Flutea rather overlong jumble of masonic mumbo jumbo and two-dimensional characters, Julie Taymor’s charming, handsome-looking (and sensitively pruned) version for the Met, here receiving a welcome revival thanks to Opera Australia, might just about help you get through it with a quip and a smile.

Taymor clearly understands where the work is coming from. Sure, her production with its appealing set designs from George Tsypin and riotous costumes courtesy of Taymor herself borrows ideas from Japanese Noh theatre as far as the black clad puppet handlers are concerned, but its focus is far more in the territory of early Victorian pantomime with its attendant smoke and mirrors. It manages more than a nod towards the French Enlightenment as well as offering a hefty dollop of that period’s obsessions with all things exotic and mystical from the Far East (Tamino) to Ancient Egypt (Sarastro and Co) and Classical Greece (the Queen of the Night’s three ladies).

That it all hangs together beautifully rather than coming across as a mishmash is a credit to Taymor’s gift for pure entertainment and stagecraft, with seamless (if a little noisy at times) stage revolves, swooping and swirling puppetry and...