The Magic Flute

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This past Saturday evening on March 29th, I experienced my very first opera.  The Bucknell Opera Company’s presentation of The Magic Flute was a terrific first encounter with the cultural overload that is the world of opera.  The Weis Center was filled with the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and rang with the voices of the Bucknell Opera Company.

The epic of Tamino and Pamina’s destiny begins with Tamino (Thomas Carle ‘14) in a tussle with a dragon when a trio Queen’s ladies (Jessica Isgro ‘15, Isabel Rogers ‘16, Allison Aaron ‘16) in glittering black gowns come to his rescue.  When they leave to tell the Queen, Papageno (Bryan Wills ‘15), a bird seller, arrives and takes credit for slaying the dragon.  After seeing a picture of the Queen’s daughter, Pamina (Joanna Malaszczyk ‘15), Tamino falls deeply in love -- and expresses through a song, of course.  However, at this point we find that Pamina has been kidnapped by the evil Sarastro (Marcus Schenck ‘16). Guarded by a magic flute and silver bells given to them by the Queen, Tamino and Papageno run into Pamina and her captor, Monostatos (Timothy Lambert ‘17) and a high priest (Darren Kusar ‘16) who tells them that the Queen, not Sarastro, is evil.  All this action, in only one act.

The second act is no less eventful, beginning with The Queen (Anissa Corser ‘14) ordering Pamina to kill Sarastro. Sarastro then foils this plan and explains to Pamina that he is not interested in vengeance while Tamino and Papageno are tested by the high priest by remaining silent even when Pamina arrives.  Tamino later explains his vow of silence to Pamina, and they are blessed by Sarastro.  Papageno wishes he had a wife but after a suicide attempt remembers that he can ring the bells given to him by the Queen’s ladies and when he does, Papagena (Claire Abram ‘15)-- his beautiful, feathered soul mate-- arrives and the two share a song about their future family.  A happy ending for all.

This was an extremely well-cast opera that accurately showcased each of the performer’s strengths -- from Anissa’s flawless, sky-high soprano notes to Marcus’s deep bass tones, every member of the Company contributed to the standing ovation that they received. Lest we forget those who filled out the stage, the 4 dancers and 15 member chorus ensured that the audience got the most out of their opera experience-- I know I did.

All in all, five stars.  A spectacular show which kept the audience engaged.  I especially enjoyed seeing so many people that I know in their element.  A huge congratulations to Director Emily Martin-Moberley, Conductor Christopher Para, Chorus Master Samuel Robinson ‘15 and Choreographer Christina Oddo ‘14, for orchestrating a spectacular show.