Raylynmor Opera to perform 'The Magic Flute'

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KEENE, N.H. >> Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "The Magic Flute" (or "Die Zauberflote" in the original German) is the only of his operas not written to be performed before a courtly audience. That is one of the reasons it is so different from his other works. Other reasons will be apparent when the Raylynmor Opera celebrates its 20th anniversary with "The Magic Flute" at the Colonial Theatre, Main Street, Keene, NH, at 7:30 p.m. on May 8 and 2 p.m. on May 9.

The lyrics will be sung in the English translation of Ruth and Thomas Martin, while the spoken dialogue has been revised by Director Matthew Leese. Musical Director Carroll Lehman will conduct.

It is the great variety of action and mood and even symbolism that has impressed audiences since its premiere.

Director Leese comments that "The story itself can be distilled as a journey of enlightenment." Remember that the late 18th century was a period in which reason and scientific enquiry were the way to knowledge. With this in mind, he has made "the overriding concept of this production" a journey "from darkness to finding wisdom, integrity, humanity and 'warmth.'" He wishes to show that "the characters are led by their own values, but also by child 'spirits' representing innocence and absolute truth." In contrast, the Queen of the Night represents ignorance.

Maestro Lehman writes, "I think the music of 'The Magic Flute' is some of Mozart's most inspired writings." He sees moments "that reach back into the Baroque era and moments that reach into the Romantic era, such as some of the beautiful, lush ensembles and arias." Again, an amazing variety of style from Mozart.

In Germany, works sung in German were in the "singspiel" format, in which spoken dialogue separated the musical numbers. This makes "Magic Flute," when done in English, more understandable to American audiences.

The story behind this work is that Emmanuel Schikaneder ran a distinctly non-courtly establishment in Vienna called the Theater auf der Wieden, which attracted a somewhat lower class audience. He wrote the libretto, Mozart the music, and the work was first given in 1791. Hence the presence of comic characters like the birdman Papageno (Casey Molino Dunn), his female half Papagena (Christina Infusino), and the cowardly slave Monostatos (James Wesley Hunter). But Mozart and Schikaneder were both Masons, and so we have the solemn Sarastro (Tyler Putnam).

hen there are the lovers Tamino (Steve Hoagland) and Pamina (Jenny Beauregard), who have to pass fearful tests to prove worthy. And of course, there is the Queen of the Night (Julie Bosworth), Pamina's mother. To top things off, there are the Queen's Three Ladies (Kathyrn McKellar, Erin Smith, and Amy Mitchell), two magic instruments, a flute and a music box, and a monster to start things off.

There are highly comic incidents, one in which Papageno has his mouth locked up for chattering too much or when he finds his better half and plans a large family, and very serious ones in which the Queen orders Pamina to kill Sarastro. Some arias sparkle (Papageno introducing himself to the audience, his duet with Pamina about "man and wife"), some reach the depths of one's heart (Pamina's aria when she believes Tamino has forsaken her), some are solemn and stately (both of Sarastros' arias, based on Masonic principles).

Raylynmor audiences will note that Tyler Putnam will be the only familiar face in the cast, having played Pirate King and Pooh-Bah in Raylynmor productions. (Of course, many familiar faces will appear in the chorus!) The rest of the major and secondary roles are taken by newcomers to the troupe—and they will perhaps appear again in the future. So this will be a really special event in the Raylynmor annals.

Those behind the scenes include Ben Robinson (Artistic Director), Sarah Franklin (children's choreography), Jocelynn Drew (sets), Ivan Park (lighting), Kendra Bell (costumes), Jenie Ziernowsky (make up), Lynda Loll (stage manager), Joann Mead (props), and Barbara Andrews (producer). Also Mead, Vicky Pitman and Melanie Everard prepared the child spirits in advance of rehearsals.

Tickets are $35, $28 for seniors and students, and may be purchased at the Colonial Box Office, by phone at 603-352-2033, or through their website at www.TheColonial.org.

Note: I will be giving a pre-show talk on May 9 at 1 p.m. in the Colonial Theater conference room just to the right of the theater and up the steps.


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