A Night at Phoenix Opera’s The Magic Flute
It was only a few weeks ago I was telling you about my life-long love of opera, growing up listening to Mario Lanza, of my personal undergraduate degree in classical vocal performance, and how we were making our first visit to a Phoenix opera performance.
Well, last night we were privileged to be hosted to a performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute presented by the Phoenix Opera.
This young opera company was founded four short years ago by former (New York) Metropolitan Opera mezzo Gail Dubinbaum and her husband, conductor John Massaro. The Magic Flute marks their seventh production with the eighth, Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata, coming to stage on March 4th, 2011.
From Phoenix Opera: “The fully restored Orpheum Theatre, the last remaining example of palace theatre architecture in Phoenix, is the home of Phoenix Opera and enhances the opera experience with its “jewel-box” setting and excellent acoustics.”
Carol and I were immediately star-struck as we entered this gloriously restored 1929 Phoenix landmark. The theatre seats just over 1,300 people and gives a far more intimate experience than larger, more modern venues. Plus, the seats are squishy and comfy. Exactly what you want when you are likely to be sitting for well over two hours!
After the orchestra’s introductory overture, there was a clearly noticeable gasp of appreciation when the curtain rose to the visually stunning stage. There were stairs climbing up into a mountain scene with dramatic colorful lights setting each scene’s mood. A great delight!
The Magic Flute was composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1791 and is in the form of a Singspiel, a popular form that includes both singing and spoken dialogue. In this case, the spoken dialog was in English with the vocal performances given in their original German with English subtitles given on a screen above the stage.
The storyline consists of a charming prince (Tamino) who, with the aid of a magic flute and a sidekick bird-man (Papageno), rescues and marries a beautiful princess (Pamina).
American tenor Vale Rideout (Tamino) was a joy to listen to; as were the beautiful and soaring notes of soprano Jennifer Nagy (Pamina). However, it was the booming voice of young American Bass Kevin Burdette (Papageno) who stole the show and received the loudest cheers from a very appreciative audience.
We greatly enjoyed our evening, and this performance would certainly be a wonderful night out for even the most virgin of opera goers. Young children would also find themselves roaring with laughter at bird-man Papageno’s antics.
Phoenix Opera has one more performance of The Magic Flute, a matinée on Sunday, December 5th. Click here to get tickets.
If you can’t make that, make certain that you put March 4th on your calendar for their upcoming performance of La Traviata.