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OCU Plays ‘The Magic Flute’

by Rod Jones

A 36-member cast and 38-piece orchestra will present “The Magic Flute,” Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s final opera, at Oklahoma City University Feb. 19-21. The opera will be sung in German, with English translations projected above the stage.

Since its 1791 premiere, The Magic Flute has remained one of history’s most beloved operas. It is the fourth-most frequently performed opera in the world, after “La Traviata,” “Carmen” and “La Boheme.”

OCU’s award-winning Oklahoma Opera and Music Theater Company, comprised of students from the Bass School of Music, will present three performances: 8 p.m. Feb. 19 and 20, with a 3 p.m. Feb. 21 matinee on the historic Kirkpatrick stage, 2501 N. Blackwelder. Tickets ($12-25) are available from okcu.edu/tickets.

An opening night dinner, featuring performances by OCU musicians, will be held at 6:15 p.m. Feb. 19 in the atrium of the Bass Music Center. Tickets are $25 and must be purchased in advance by calling 405-208-5227.

A free director’s talk by Karen Coe Miller will be held 45 minutes before curtain.

“I’ve always loved The Magic Flute and I’ve always puzzled over how to present this opera to a modern audience,” Miller said. “Most people have never read the full libretto, which is filled with contradictions. The supposedly wise and benevolent Sarastro owns slaves and is openly misogynistic. Is the imposing Queen of the Night a loving mother or a vengeful fury? Young Tamino and Pamina are caught in a power struggle between these two characters. Whom should they believe? Is this a fight between good and evil or a competition between two leaders struggling for power? This central dilemma is packaged in beautiful music and delightfully comic characters. This opera has something for everyone.”

The OCU Opera Orchestra, under the direction of Matthew Mailman, will perform a score that runs the gamut from the Queen of the Night’s coloratura fireworks to Tamino and Pamina’s lyrical duets and Papageno’s folk-inspired arias.

The Oklahoma Opera and Music Theater Company’s 64th season continues with the Oklahoma premiere of “Jackie O” March 4-6, with composer Michael Daughterty in attendance, and concludes April 22-24 with “Evita,” the Tony Award-winning musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

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