Oct 152009
Authors: Ashley Lauwereins

The University Center for the Arts will open its Griffin Concert Hall doors tonight for the department’s first and only opera of the semester. “The Magic Flute,” Mozart’s final opera, opens tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the UCA.

Although it was Mozart’s final opera, David Mallis, CSU Opera director, said this opera stands out as one of Mozart’s best works because of the combination of drama and comedy. Mallis said the audience should expect some of the best music ever written in this opera.

At its essence, “The Magic Flute” is a story about good versus evil, said Lindsey Coleman, who plays Pamina in the opera.

“It is a story that represents good and evil in a way that the audience is not sure who is good and who is bad until the end,” Coleman, a second year graduate student in vocal performing arts, said. “This is present through love, humor, wisdom and goodness.”

Mallis said when the opera first opened, it was ahead of its time, saying it mentions a democratic society where people vote on their leadership. Also, he said the opera situated the main female character, Pamina, as a ruler alongside a male — something new to the time period.

“I think ‘The Magic Flute’ is a really good starter opera,” Coleman said. “Sometimes it’s considered a children’s opera, but it is accessible to everybody.”

Mallis said to expect magical creatures, interesting lighting and incredible technical aspects to the show.

“Don’t put opera in the box that it’s not for you,” Coleman said. “This opera is accessible to everyone, there is something for everyone. It’s epic.”

Mallis chose to present the songs in German with English super-titles, while keeping the dialogue English-only.

“The music is best served by performing it in the native language,” Mallis said. “If the speech was done in German, the audience would be spending the whole evening reading super-titles.”

Rebekah Gray, a first year grad student in vocal performance, who plays the Queen of the Night, said music translated into English takes away from how the composer intended the music to be sung.

She agreed that having the dialogue in English makes it easier for the audience to understand, making it more conversational and more easily expressed.

Cody Laun, a senior vocal performance major playing the lead male role Tamino in the opera, said he worked on his role the entire summer, drilling himself on his German and getting to know the music.

“You have to get to the point where you have the music constantly running through your head,” Laun said. “Experience and time has gotten me really ready for this role.”

A relatively difficult opera to perform, Gray said the high notes in the second aria were the hardest part for her.

“The super high notes in the second aria I had the most trouble with. It was mostly a matter of stretching notes and getting my voice used to singing in a high register it’s not used to be in so I’m comfortable,” Gray said.

“The Queen of the Night is the most well known role because of the vocal pyrotechnics and how impressive it is to the ears,” Laun said.

Coleman said Pamina is difficult to sing because of the range and expression needed, adding she’s stretching herself with the role.

“The Magic Flute” will run tonight, Saturday and Friday, Oct. 23 at 7:30 p.m., along with a matinee Sunday, Oct. 25 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for CSU students, $20 for community members and $1 for youth. They can be purchased at the CSU Campus Box Office or online at http://csutix.universitytickets.com.

Editor’s note: Interviews with cast members were from one cast. The production features two casts.

UCA Beat Reporter Ashley Lauwereins can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

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