Branagh's Magic Flute Star Charms Venice, 8 September 2006

Amy Carson, the lead in Kenneth Branagh's film version of Mozart's opera 'The Magic Flute', has won critical acclaim for her role at the Venice Film Festival.

Branagh, who has created successful film versions of other classics such as Shakespeare's 'Hamlet', picked the 23-year-old from obscurity soon after she had completed her degree at Cambridge University.

Until making the film, Amy had no experience of performing professionally other than singing in the choir of Salisbury Cathedral and Trinity College.

Unsurprisingly, the young starlet said that working with Branagh was a "dream come true". "Hamlet was the first Shakespeare play that I discovered and studied in depth at school, and to see Ken's Hamlet completely took my breath away," she said. "He made me believe that instead of just reading a Shakespeare play, I could pick it up and do it and bring it alive."

In 'The Magic Flute', Amy plays the key role of Pamima.

"I've always been enchanted by the part of Pamina. I'm very excited to play it because I'm young and Mozart had a very young girl sing it - he created the role for Anna Gottlieb, who was 17 when she sang it," Amy told the press at Venice.

"Ken has such an enthusiasm and energy. To work with him has been a great joy."

Branagh's version of 'The Magic Flute' is set in the first world war and is based on a screenplay by Stephen Fry.

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