Windsor’s first independent opera company, Abridged Opera, is gearing up for a two-day run of Mozart’s beloved opera The Magic Flute. The show, taking place at the Kordazone Theatre on April 14 and 15, is the company’s second opera of 2018.
In The Magic Flute, Brianna DeSantis, local soprano and Abridged Opera member, will reprise the role of The Queen of the Night, as well as her duties as Project Lead. This role features the unforgettable (and incredibly difficult) aria, ‘Der Hölle Rache’ (Hell’s revenge burns in my heart). When she was first asked to lead the project, she wondered how she could make the opera more accessible to the masses. Being an avid reader since childhood, she thought it would be cool to literally bring the story to life by integrating a prologue and script adapted by local baritone, Adam Iannetta, in a Wizard of Oz-meets-Chitty Chitty Bang Bang-meets-The Princess Bride style.
“One of Abridged Opera’s mandates is to make opera more accessible and we are definitely doing that,” DeSantis told YQG Rocks. “Adam has crafted a script for us based on the English dialogue from the Schirmer edition of The Magic Flute. He’s begun the opera with a prologue, which is not in Mozart’s version, where a mother (Queen of the Night) is heard offstage yelling at her three kids (The Three Spirits). The father (Sarastro) comes in to cheer them up with a story – The Magic Flute. And then the opera begins. The father and the kids weave in and out as themselves and as their characters in The Magic Flute.”
The Magic Flute is a fantastical fairy tale. The hilarious plot follows Princess Pamina, daughter of the evil Queen of the Night, who has been kidnapped by the good and virtuous Sarastro. The charming Prince Tamino and his bird-brained companion, Papageno, embark on a quest to rescue the fair maiden.
“It’s a great story albeit, a little convoluted,” DeSantis said. “The fairy tale aspect is kid-friendly and we want the little ones to come to our shows. However, older audience members can also appreciate the different themes that emerge as well – the balance between good and evil relates to a basic question of human nature. Are people generally good or generally bad? And the answer is neither. They just are. This balance between The Queen and Sarastro – darkness and light – is a key theme of the show. Furthermore, The Magic Flute is one of those operas that is instantly recognizable for audiences – namely, the Queen of the Night’s aria and the Papageno and Papagena duet.”
This opera boasts some of the widest vocal ranges of any production: from the Queen of the Night’s stratospheric high F6s to Sarastro’s rumbling low F2s.
“She’s definitely one of my favourite characters to play” DeSantis added. “She lets me get out all of my frustrations and channel them into ‘Hell’s revenge burns in my heart’.”
Audiences can look forward to hearing several local singers onstage, including Naomi Eberhard (First Lady), Christine Turingia (Second Lady), Erin Armstrong-Dickau (Third Lady), Kaitlyn Clifford (Papagena), Joshua Zajac (First Spirit), Julia Martin (Second Spirit), Braylon Belanger (Third Spirit) and new to Windsor bass, Max Arvidsson from Sweden (Sarastro). Conducted by Peter Wiebe of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra and directed by Tracey Atin.
“Peter has been a godsend,” she said. “With such a large cast, musicians, children, and chorus, we wouldn’t be able to do it without him. The orchestra consists of a string quartet, piano, and of course, flute. Another one of Abridged Opera’s mandates is to give opportunities to young and emerging artists. We have a wide and varied cast including working professionals, some doctoral students from Western University, local children, and an undergraduate student from The University of Windsor’s School for Creative Arts.”
The Magic Flute will be sung in German with English dialogue and supertitles. The show is partly supported by the Arts, Culture and Heritage Fund in Windsor.
The Magic Flute hits the Kordazone Theatre stage on Saturday, April 14 at 7pm and Sunday, April 15 at 2:30pm.
Tickets are $25 for adults and $13 for students and available online at www.abridgedopera.com or by calling 226-346-8372.