Opera leaves viewers in awe


by Matt Bower

Along with many other activities, last weekend gave students theopportunity for a night at the opera by watching Wolfgang AmadeusMozart’s “The Magic Flute,” put on by the Simpson Department ofMusic.

The opera tells the story of a magic flute and a set of magicbells that unite a pair of lovers who almost miss their chance tobe together. It takes place in and around the Temple of Isis inEgypt.

The first act, among other characters, introduces Prince Tamino,the bird-catcher Papageno and Pamina, daughter of the Queen of theNight. Prince Tamino and Papageno are on a quest for Pamina. Littledo they know, she has been kidnapped by Sarastro, high Priest ofIsis and Osiris. As the act unfolds, Tamino learns that Sarastrohas kidnapped Pamina in order to protect her from the evilinfluences of her mother. With the aid of the magic flute and a setof magic bells, Tamino, Papageno and Pamina are brought togethermomentarily and Tamino and Pamina develop a love for oneanother.

Act two begins with the initiation of Tamino and Papageno intothe mysteries of Isis and Osiris. Tamino declares a love of wisdomwhile Papageno simply longs for his wife-to-be, his “Papagena.”

The priests of the Temple explain to the two men that they areon a period of probation where they must not speak to any women.Pamina does not understand Tamino’s silence and fears he no longerloves her. Papageno finds it hard to obey the command of silenceand repeatedly talks, almost losing his Papagena as punishment.

However, the magic flute together with the set of magic bellssolves the difficulties and mends the problems of the two pairs oflovers. Tamino and Pamina are united as Papageno finally finds hisPapagena and all live happily ever after.

The cast put on a wonderful performance. Brandon Hendrickson wasan unforgettable Papageno who managed to keep the audience inlaughter while stealing most of his scenes. Andrew Duncan playedPrince Tamino to a “T” as the voice of reason and obedience withhis love of wisdom and quest for Pamina. And both KatherineLindhart and Diana Stoic, as Pamina and the Queen of the Nightrespectively, were very talented at hitting those high notes thatleft one asking, “how do they do that?”

The opera was directed by Robert L. Larsen, his fifth timedirecting “The Magic Flute” at Simpson. Past casts have includedJohn Osborn and Theodore Green, both of international operaticfame, double cast as Tamino and Mark Wilson, who is currentlybuilding a career in New York, as Papageno. Carol Stuart of DesMoines Metro Opera fame was cast as the Queen of the Night. Fromthe cast to the set design, it is clear the students who worked on”The Magic Flute” put in a great deal of time and effort and theaudience recognized it as they thanked them with a standingovation.