Saturday afternoon, February 8th at NOON
This month we are showing Mozart’s The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte, K. 620), a delightful fantasy opera in two acts. The Magic Flute has enchanted audiences of all ages for centuries. Julie Taymor’s dazzling 2004 production brings one of Mozart’s greatest works to life as never before. Her costumes are filled with her signature magical puppets and colorful effects that we were all enchanted by in The Lion King. This abridged production of The Magic Flute is sung in English, and is geared for families with children as well as anyone new to opera.
Mozart’s final masterpiece, which is filled with ritual and symbolism, is a playful but profound look at man’s search for love and his struggle to attain wisdom and virtue. From the virtuoso aria of the Queen of the Night to the folksong-like melody of Papageno, the bird catcher, the full range of Mozart’s miraculous talent is displayed in this magical fairy-tale opera. The opera is in the form of a singspiel, a form of German light opera that includes both singing and spoken dialogue.
Mozart-lovers might be jarred by the amount of cuts that reduce the opera from 169 minutes to a 112-minute family-friendly affair. Whole stretches of spoken dialogue are eliminated as well as entire chunks of the score, including the overture and certain arias. Fortunately, the cuts are sensitively made and don’t seem to hinder the production.
The cast is excellent. The antics of Papageno, the hapless bird catcher, is sung by energetic baritone Nathan Gunn (returning to one of his best Met roles). Matthew Polenzani sings Tamino with a tender yet ample lyric tenor voice. Soprano Ying Huang, in her Met debut, sings a lovely, sweet-toned Pamina. Soprano Erika Miklósa, the Queen of the Night, handles the skittish runs and leaps to high F with uncanny ease and accuracy. The powerful bass René Pape sings Sarastro.
Newcomers to opera — These DVD presentations by the Pescadero Opera Society are a great way to learn about opera. The atmosphere is always friendly and informal — never stuffy. An introduction to the opera is given before the show, letting you know what you are about to see and hear, and any opera trivia available. Programs are provided that include a synopsis of the opera. The DVD includes English subtitles, and there’s always room for questions and discussion.
The opera is held in our fabulous Event Hall (lovingly referred to as “The Barn”). It will be shown on our wonderful giant-sized Gracie Anderson Memorial Movie Screen (donated by her son, Rodney), in six-channel digital surround-sound (donated by Jason Skinner and family, and several yard sales). Sit in our comfy theater seats (donated by Coastal Repertory Theatre), all set on our wonderful carpeting from the Ritz Carlton ballroom (donated by Kevin Palmer of Floors to Go, Premier Termite & the Long Branch Saloon/Event Center). Munch on popcorn from our fantastic popcorn machine (donated by Chris and Suneva from Aratas Pumpkin Farm). Keep warm and cozy with our 60,000 BTU heater and enjoy the show with our fabulous new projector (both made possible by your generous donations).
Socializing, barbecue and pot luck are held between 12:00-1:00 p.m. We will provide the main dish, large salad, drinks and snacks. Please bring a dish that you want to share for the pot luck. The opera starts promptly at 1:00 p.m. with a brief introduction by Phyllis Neumann.
Opera Programs. If you want to bone up on this month’s opera before you come, download it from the Synopses section of Pescadero Opera website.