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The Magic Flute at the Dallas Opera: Fairytale Brought To Life

Photo by Karen Almond

Mozart's The Magic Flute just premiered at the Dallas Opera on October 18th, and it was magnificent! A story that truly combines everything we love from fairytales - a prince and princess in love, an evil sorcerer, terrifying beasts, magic, comedy, and rich symbolism! Although The Magic Flute premiered in 1791, is set in ancient Egypt, and sung in German, its overarching themes are timeless, with reason and love triumphing over irrationality and evil. My personal favorites from The Magic Flute included the opening scene with the Three Ladies, Papageno's entire performance, and the Queen of the Night’s spectacular aria. I highly recommend seeing this in person, both opera expert or newcomer will be enamored by the storybook setting and performance. Running approximately 3 hours, The Magic Flute is a perfect start to the 2019/2020 season at the Dallas Opera.

Performances of The Magic Flute continue on October 20(m), 23, 26, and November 1 (The Enrico Foundation Performance) and November 3(m), 2019. Tickets start at $19, you can purchase them here. You can also view The Magic Flute at the FREE simulcast at Klyde Warren park on November 1st, info here.

In addition to The Magic Flute, the Dallas Opera First Night included a seated dinner for patrons and afterparty with the cast. The themed cocktails, The Queen and The Sun, flowed as guests danced to a live band. I personally indulged in the tater tots, funnel cake, fried pickles, and made-to-order crepes, all of which were delicious! Kicking off the 19/20 season included remarks thanking the Winspear family and introducing a very special member - Winspear the cheetah, brought onto the stage for all to admire! It was a magical moment - Winspear was made for the stage! 

The incredible set was designed by British cartoonist and illustrator extraordinaire, Gerald Scarfe, best known for a half century of scathing political cartoons for The Sunday Times and for directing and designing the animation sequence for Pink Floyd’s film and concert versions of The Wall. Mr. Scarfe has designed sets and costumes for opera companies from Seattle to New Zealand, as well as creating numerous books, exhibits, and acclaimed one-man shows. 

Conducted by Emmanuel Villaume (The Mrs. Eugene McDermott Music Director of The Dallas Opera) and directed by Kyle Lang (Ann Stuart Stage Director) in his company debut, The Eleanor Ford Penrose Mainstage Production boasts a superb international cast of singers who have captivated audiences from the Kennedy Center to Covent Garden.

Italian tenor Paolo Fanale and American soprano Andrea Carroll will make their house debuts as the spirited romantic leads, Tamino and Pamina, braving trials and separations in order to find love, wisdom and happiness together, at long last.

American soprano Jeni Houser will account for several of the performance’s high notes as the majestic Queen of the Night. She, too, earned exceptional praise from Opera News for her “focused expressive high soprano…nailing her killer Act II showpiece.”

The role of Papageno, a comic tour-de-force, marks the eagerly-awaited house debut of baritone Sean Michael Plumb, whose “elegant lyricism and responsive musicality” (The New York Times) have made this award-winning California native a welcome presence on many of the world’s most prestigious stages.

Dallas Opera favorite Morris Robinson, an American bass last seen on the Winspear stage as The Commendatore in our acclaimed 2018 spring production of Don Giovanni, “dominates the stage…with his firm, opulent tone that seems to pour forth from another world” (The Classical Review).  He returns in the role of the mysterious Sarastro.

Casting the roles of the First, Second, and Third Lady is about choosing complementary voices capable of creating one of the great trios in opera. The Dallas Opera indulged in “luxury casting” across the board: The First Lady will be sung by American soprano Diana Newman, the Second Lady by American mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey (The Charron and Peter Denker Rising Star), and the Third Lady by American contralto Hannah Ludwig – all in their TDO debuts.

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