Arts & Culture

5 cool things to know about Opera Idaho’s ‘Magic Flute’

Opera Idaho's 'The Magic Flute'

A group of Meridian High School students get a chance to experience opera for the first time at a dress rehearsal of Opera Idaho's "The Magic Flute," an operetta by Mozart. Find out what happens.
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A group of Meridian High School students get a chance to experience opera for the first time at a dress rehearsal of Opera Idaho's "The Magic Flute," an operetta by Mozart. Find out what happens.

Opera Idaho’s production of “The Magic Flute” opens the company’s season this weekend. Here are some fun facts:

No. 1: Grammy winner. Opera Idaho director Mark Junkert does a great job of casting his productions with not only talented up-and-coming singers, but in recent seasons, more established and renowned artists. For “Flute,” you’ll see a performance by Grammy-winning tenor Thomas Glenn. He has performed with The Metropolitan in New York, The Lyric in Chicago and San Francisco Opera, where he originated the role of Robert Wilson in the world premiere of John Adams’ “Doctor Atomic.” He won a Grammy for the 2011 recording of that opera with the Met. In “Flute,” he plays Prince Tamino, who must go on a quest to rescue the beautiful Pamina (lyric coloratura Julianna Tauschinger-Dempsey).

No. 2: High notes. Tamino is attacked by a serpent and rescued by The Queen of the Night (soprano Lindsay Russell), who wants revenge for her daughter Pamina’s kidnapping by the evil Sarastro (Konstantin Kvach). Russell’s role is one of the most demanding in the opera repertoire, with six incredible high F’s in her Act 1 aria.

No. 3: Satire. “The Magic Flute” is one of Mozart’s masterpieces, containing some of the last music he wrote before his death at 35. It’s a shrewdly playful comedy that reveals secrets of the Freemasons, a fraternal order famous for its rites and rituals that held great power in Mozart’s day. The group is credited with fueling the Enlightenment. Mozart and his librettist Emanuel Schikaneder both were Masons. They included veiled references to the order as a political statement.

There is a well-known conspiracy theory that the Masons poisoned Mozart for revealing the group’s secrets.

No. 4: Accessibility: Director Benamin Spierman’s colorful production will be performed in English, with English supertitles. And it’s an operetta, a form that’s like a bridge between opera and musical theater so there is talking between arias.

No. 5: This opera will feel right at home in the beautiful Egyptian Theatre. The opera is set in ancient Egypt, where Tamino meets the bird-catcher Papageno (baritone Ryan Christopher Bede), who is the comic relief of the show with one of the most memorable arias in the opera. Bede hails from Tacoma, Wash., and spent some of his time in Boise doing outreach with area schools.

OTHER ARTS NEWS

▪  The BIG Choir is back. Co-directors Vashti Summervill and Will Martin will bring back the Boise Intergenerational Choir, founded in 2008, after a one-year hiatus. The group brings voices together from ages 1 to 90, with a performance finale that involves more than 300 artists, including musicians and dancers.

The group took its break because the choir became too big to manage, Summervill says. “I’ll never let that happen again,” she says. “We need to keep it reasonable to make it a great experience for everyone.”

I’ll never let that happen again. We need to keep it reasonable to make it a great experience for everyone.

BIG Choir co-founder, Vashti Summervill

This time around, participants will need to register in advance. Rehearsals are going back to the smaller Hyde Park Mennonite Fellowship, so the choir enrollment will be capped. Details are still in the works. Registration fees and other information are forthcoming. Check the website BIGChoir.org for updates. Rehearsals will be on Tuesday nights beginning Jan. 19.

▪  Chicago’s Lincoln Piano Trio will perform as part of the Boise Chamber Music Series at Boise State University, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 30, Morrison Center Recital Hall, 2201 Cesar Chavez Lane. Known for championing new music, the group will perform a mixed program that includes Rebecca Clarke’s turbulent 1921 Piano Trio, a commission from Colombian composer Juan Antonio Cuéllar and Astor Piazzolla’s “Autumn in Buenos Aires.” While the trio is here, it will spend the weekend coaching BSU’s chamber music master class. Tickets are $30 general, $25 students and seniors. 426-1216, boisechambermusicseries.org.

Opera Idaho’s ‘The Magic Flute’:

7:30 p.m. Oct. 30 and 2:30 p.m. Nov. 1, Egyptian Theatre, 700 W. Main St., Boise. $14.40-$72. 387-1273, operaidaho.org.

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