Night Queens and bird catchers and flutes? Oh My! Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote an opera with all three, and WVU’s College of Creative Arts is bringing that experience to you! “The Magic Flute” runs January 31- February 3 in the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre.
“The Magic Flute” was Mozart’s last dramatic composition and became an immediate and lasting success; the Queen of the Night’s Aria, “Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen” was even included on the first disk of the Voyager Golden Record launched in 1977. In 1780, Mozart met Emanuel Schikaneder, an actor and singer. Years later the two used an existing story that revolved around a good fairy whose daughter needs rescuing from the clutches of a wicked magician. The hero has a magic flute as a weapon. They mimicked the structure of this story through act one but then decided to take a different approach in act two. It is unclear whether they feared competition from another existing piece or if they wanted to create a piece that glorified Freemasonry.
Masonry was extremely popular during the 18th century, both Mozart and Schikaneder were members. Thus, the piece is filled with Masonic symbolism. Masonic virtues present in threes, hence the use of three chords in the overture, the three ladies and three spirits, to name a few examples you will see.
Mainly the opera, technically a singspiel—a form of German musical comedy which includes sections of spoken dialogue, like an operetta or a Broadway musical—touches on the complexities of the human condition: love, loyalty, overcoming evil, etc. The talented company of WVU students and faculty crafted the profound and harrowing message of the opera through the lens of an almost farcical comedy.
“Mozart doesn’t give only the opportunity for extraordinary music that requires a higher level of skill, in terms of technique,” director Cornel Gabara, associate professor of acting. “He also offers an opportunity for learning dramatic structure with an important message pertaining to human nature. The necessity for self discovery and reaching for enlightenment is not only the final goal of this opera, but the final goal for life as an artist and in one’s personal life."
“’The Magic Flute’ is a well-loved opera for a reason,” said Amelia Welsh a senior BM Vocal Performance major with a minor in Music Technology playing the role of First Spirit. “The combination of a classic love story with Mozart’s iconic compositional style makes for an amazing show! People should definitely come and see this opera for the story and music, but also to support all the talented people that put so much work into creating a unique twist on the production! It's been so incredibly fun to be a part of.”
Scenic design is by Robert Klingelhoefer, professor of scene design; costume design by Mary McClung, director of costuming and professor of costume design; lighting design by MFA lighting design and technology student, Justin Burns; and sound design by Alan McEwen, professor of lighting and sound design; the stage manager is alumna Rebecca Smith
All student cast featuring acting, voice and musical theatre majors
“The Magic Flute” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart will take the stage in the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre at the Creative Arts Center Jan 31- Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 3 at 2 p.m. Tickets for “The Magic Flute” are available on campus at the Mountainlair and Creative Arts Center Box Office locations (Mon. - Fri. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.), by calling 304-293-SHOW (7469) and online at http://ticketmaster.com. To inquire about group rates, email firstname.lastname@example.org.