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An evening at the opera

By Mandy Cook

Memorial’s School of Music invites opera lovers to experience Mozart’s The Magic Flute in a fully-staged performance of one of the composer’s most beloved works in the operatic repertoire.

The production has been cast with voice majors currently studying at the School of Music and graduates, and will be accompanied by the MUN Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Vernon Regehr.

Composed in 1791, The Magic Flute is noted for its prominent Masonic elements and for its exploration of Enlightenment-era philosophy. The story itself portrays the education of mankind, progressing from chaos through superstition to rationalistic enlightenment by means of trial and error.

“At its simplest, The Magic Flute is the story of Prince Tamino’s search for enlightenment and love,” said Dr. Caroline Schiller, a professor of voice and director of the opera program at the School of Music. “It is a work that uses symbol and mystery to highlight the duality of the universe: good and bad, light and dark, male and female. Its storyline uses symbolism and ritual as a backdrop for a wonderfully fantastic tale.”

Sung in German with English dialogue, the opera has numerous highlights including what some consider Mozart’s most famous vocal motifs: the Queen of the Night’s aria, and the solo arias of the characters Prince Tamino, Papageno and the Princess Pamina.

The title role, Prince Tamino, will be played by School of Music graduate and former student of the New England Conservatory Jonathan Reed. Peter Halley will play Monostatos, and Michael Power will play the Priest. Three children’s roles – who act as guides to the heroes on their quest – were selected from the St. John’s-based Shallaway youth choir.

“The Magic Flute offers something for everyone,” said Dr. Schiller. “Some will look to find deeper meaning in the libretto and music, while others will be drawn to the outrageous and engaging characters. All will hopefully enjoy the opportunity to hear and see this beautiful repertoire performed.”

The show takes place at the Reid Theatre, Arts and Administration Building, on Feb. 18 and 19. Tickets are available through the Holy Heart Theatre box office at 579-4424.