In 1791, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s classic opera “Die Zauberflöte” — “The Magic Flute” — premiered two months before his death.
Tonight, UNC Opera will perform the opera in the recently renovated Playmakers Theatre.
Saturday night’s performance will feature a different cast, which UNC Opera director Terry Rhodes said is not common practice for the ensemble.
See “DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE”
Time: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Location: Playmakers Theatre
Tickets: $5 students, $10 general public
Tickets are sold out, more seats may be available
But each cast brings a different approach to the material, she said.
“Both performances are going to be very different,” Rhodes said. “Even though they’re singing the same words in the music and the lines are the same, they’re even doing some slightly different blocking and staging and they’re bringing their own creative ideas.”
“The Magic Flute” tells the story of Prince Tamino, who must save Pamina, daughter of the Queen of the Night, from the sorcerer Sarastro.
Mason Cordell, a sophomore music and dramatic art major who will play Sarastro Saturday night, said that he never tires of Mozart.
“The music is just so rich,” Cordell said. “It’s a story about ‘love conquers all.’ It’s worth telling in however many incarnations.”
The dialogue will be in English, and English subtitles will be projected onto a screen during the German songs.
For many students in the UNC Opera ensemble, this is the first time they have ever been inside the historic theater, which recently underwent extensive renovations.
Brent Wissick, who directs the orchestra for “The Magic Flute,” said he has performed concerts in Playmakers since 1983, when he joined the UNC music department.
“It has the wonderful sound it always has, it has the wonderful intimacy,” Wissick said. “It’s even more pleasant to make music in here now. It simulates the experience of doing Mozart as he might have experienced it.”
The cast, orchestra and production crew is made up of students, with one exception — Cheryl Junk, assistant dean of UNC academic advising, who plays a priestess, an animal and one half of the dragon.
Senior music major Emily Smith, who will play the Queen of the Night on Saturday, said that Junk has been an integral part of the student production.
“She’s gotten involved in so many different areas,” Smith said. “She even choreographed the animal dance and the trials that are in Act II, and she’s always so eager to get involved.”
In the last 3 months, the ensemble has added on 65 to 70 rehearsal hours in addition to their two-hour rehearsals twice a week, Rhodes said.
“It would be great for people to be aware of what their peers can do — because there’s some pretty virtuosic singing in this — and to see, from the orchestra to the singers, the talent of their peers,” Rhodes said.
Cordell said opera has a pull to it that makes it different from musical theater.
“Everything is so elaborate,” Cordell said. “Opera is larger than life, and when you’re performing you get to go all out and leave it all out there on the stage.”
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