Barrie Kosky has made no bones about the fact that directing The Magic Flute was not on his wish list, having been bored rigid by it as a child. But as Artistic Director of the Komische Oper Berlin there came a point when he knew he needed to include a production in the company’s repertoire. Then he happened to see Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Seaby British theatre company 1927, and a light bulb lit up in his mind.

The Magic Flute, Barrie Kosky Aaron Blake, Ashley Milanese, Karolina Gumos, Nadine Weissman and Joan Martín-Royo. Photograph © Toni Wilkinson

1927, which takes its name from the year of the first talkie, The Jazz Singer, is known for its ingenious integration of live performance, music and hand drawn, vintage-looking animation, creating a distinctive aesthetic that unites silent film with English music hall. Kosky was excited. Here was a way to stage a production of Mozart’s Singspiel that interested him. He approached 1927, who agreed to collaborate with him on what would be their first opera, and magic was made.

The production, co-directed by Kosky and 1927’s Suzanne Andrade, with a...