Toot the flute

When Kenneth Branagh decides he’s going to go all arty on us, he doesn’t do things by halves. Not content with the likes of a four-hour Hamlet, he’s now preparing to shoot a cinematic version of Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute.

The story concerns a young man spirited away to a magical realm, where he’s charged with rescuing the daughter of the Queen of the Night from the dark lord Sarastro. Yeah, that old story. And it is an old story – Mozart wrote it in 1791. Branagh’s film version updates the story to the eve of World War One and will feature a libretto written by Stephen Fry.

Here’s the really interesting bit: the film will shoot across six – count ‘em – soundstages at Shepperton in January.