Genevieve PM Roy
Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute)Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute)
On Thursday and Saturday March 21 and 23 2013, Opera McGill in collaboration with the McGill Chamber Orchestra, presented a delightful and modern version of Mozart’s masterpiece: Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute).
The opera is in itself one of the most performed and beloved operas in the classical repertoire. It contains some of Mozart’s most recognized music and is divided into two acts with both singing and spoken dialogue.
The story follows the allegorical tale of Tamino’s quest to save his beloved Pamina. Along the way, he encounters both allies and foes alike (in the form of Sarastro and the Queen of the Night) that teach both Tamino and the audience about the actual ways of the world. The opera is generally quite comical and the plot line is relatively simple, however the score poses a viable challenge for singers as some of the songs have a pitch range that is very high and technically difficult.
For this production, I was most impressed by the vocal abilities of the lead singers as well as the way in which the set and costumes were designed. The entire student cast was dressed in impressive costumes designed by Ginette Grenier, who drew inspiration from the Victorian steam punk era and completed the look with feathers, furs, leather, top hats and printed cog designs on each of the pieces. The set designer, Vincent Lefevre, chose to feature a large telescreen as a backdrop on which beautiful imagery of elements of nature appeared. Furthermore, attached to the screen were several branches of steam pipes that were artfully connected to each side and that gently surrounded the on-stage orchestra.
Boris Brott led the McGill Chamber Orchestra with much gusto. It was a nice visual change to have the orchestra situated directly under the video screen onstage with the singers instead of in the orchestra pit.
Rebecca Woodmass, who sang the role of the Queen of the Night on Thursday evening, hit each of her high notes solidly with force and clarity and received a thunderous and well deserved round of applause: (her role being famous for its difficulty). Papageno (performed by baritone David Tinervia) was jolly and delightfully entertaining as he poked fun at Tamino ( tenor Kevin Myers) and Pamina (soprano Sara Ptak).
What made this show truly unique was the way in which the stage director (Patrick Hansen) broke down the notion of a cast solely performing on stage and instead, made the entire cast weave in and out of the audience by entering and exiting from various locations and also making full use of the entire concert hall.
McGill Opera features students who are singing to partially fullﬁll their music degree requirements. However these students are extremely talented and all shows are high end productions that are guaranteed to entertain any music aficionado. It is always a pleasure to hear these rising stars of tomorrow share their talents with the Montreal community.
Next year’s opera season promises to be grand as Opera McGill has decided to feature a Shakespearean inspired season. For more information on their up-coming performances please consult their web-site :
Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute)
(sung in German with surtitles)
As part of the Lisl Wirth Black Box Festival
Dates: Thursday March 21 and Saturday March 23
Place: Pollack Hall
Box Office: Contact