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Magic Flute

This review was found at ShulerHensley.com

Skylight Opera Theatre

October 1993

Changes Free 'Magic Flute' From Constraints of Time

It is a quest story, complete with a noble task (the rescue of Pamina), talismans, trials and transformation. But it is an interior quest; Tamino must abandon illusion (his allegiance to the dazzling Queen of the Night), integrate the elements of his personality (represented by himself, Papageno and Pamina and Papagena), and take his place as a free, mature agent in an enlightened society. The private, essentially Romantic idealism of the late Enlightenment shines like a white beacon unyellowed by corny, opera buffa local color.

This is not to say that this "Flute" is austere or humorless. The insubstantiality of time and place heightens the flesh-and-blood presence of the four central characters - Ian Jon Bourg's Tamino, Shuler Hensley's Papageno, Heather Dials' Papagena and Karen Bogan's Pamina. Papageno's predicaments are all the funnier when stripped of affectation. Bogan's lush physicality and emotionally hot singing maker her the necessary complement of Bourg's lofty Tamino. Gary Jankowski's warm, even and blessedly unsentorian bass purged Sarastro of the all-too usual pomp and filled him with civility and wisdom.

Tom Strini, Journal Music Critic

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