Principal photography got underway on Jan 19 at Shepperton Studiosoutside London on Kenneth Branagh's adaptation of Mozart's The Magic Flute.

Conceived and directed byBranagh, the $27m production features a newly-adapted libretto by Stephen Fryand takes place on the eve of the first world war as a pair of lovers hold thedestiny of millions in their hands.

A cast of rising opera stars includes Joseph Kaiser, Ben Davis andnewcomer Amy Carson, together with more established performers like Rene Pape,Thomas Randle, Lyubov Petrova and Silvia Moi.

Pierre-Olivier Bardet is producing through his company IdealeAudience, and Stephen Wright serves as executive producer on behalf ofprincipal financier Peter Moores Foundation. Celluloid Dreams is handlinginternational sales.

'This is a very exciting departure for me as afilmmaker,' Branagh said. 'Working with Sir Peter Moores and hisFoundation to help bring this masterpiece to a different audience is an immenseand thrilling challenge.'

'For a long time I had thought of making a film of TheMagic Flute inEnglish,' Sir Peter added. 'I thought it could reach a wideraudience, far outside the opera house. So it was wonderful when Kenneth Branaghagreed to direct the film.

'He is a visionary filmmaker with a proven record oftranslating theatrical experiences into film and is working with the singers inenormous detail and with infectious enthusiasm.'