press release: Madison Opera presents Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Magic Flute on Friday, April 21 at 8pm and Sunday, April 23 at 2:30pm in Overture Hall. Mozart’s sublime opera is part fairy tale, part adventure story, and all enchantment. Written in the last year of his life, it has been enjoyed around the world for over two centuries.
Set in a fairy-tale world of day and night, the opera follows Prince Tamino and the bird-catcher Papageno as they embark on a mission to rescue Pamina, the daughter of the Queen of the Night. Pamina had been kidnapped by Sarastro, the leader of a religious order, but it turns out that exactly who is “good” and who is “evil” is not always what it appears. Along the way to happily-ever-after, Pamina, Tamino, and Papageno face many challenges, but are assisted by a magic flute, magic bells, a trio of guiding spirits, and their own clear-eyed sense of right and wrong.
“The Magic Flute has been beloved around the world since its 1791 premiere,” says Kathryn Smith, Madison Opera’s General Director. “It has been called a fairy tale for both adults and children, with a story that works on many levels, all set to Mozart’s glorious music. I’m so delighted to be sharing it again with Madison, with an incredible cast, director, and conductor.”
The large cast features singers both familiar and new to the Madison Opera stage. Amanda Woodbury debuts as Pamina; she won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2014 and this season sang Juliet in Romeo and Juliet at the Met. Andrew Bidlack debuts as Tamino; he was named one of opera’s “25 Rising Stars” by Opera News in 2015 and this season sang at both the Metropolitan Opera and London’s Royal Opera. Alan Dunbar, who has sung many roles at Madison Opera, most recently Schaunard in La Bohème, sings the role of the bird-catcher, Papageno. Caitlin Cisler, who sang the title role in The Daughter of the Regiment here, returns as the Queen of the Night; Nathan Stark, who played Sulpice in the same opera, sings Sarastro, the Queen’s nemesis.
Madison Opera’s Studio Artists, both current and former, are prominently featured. Studio Artist alums Scott Brunscheen and Kelsey Park return as Monostatos and the Second Lady. Current Studio Artists Anna Polum, Anna Parks, and James Held sing Papagena, the Third Lady, and the Second Priest / Armored Man, respectively.
Rounding out the cast is Middleton native Amanda Kingston making her debut as the First Lady; Matthew Scollin debuting as the Speaker of the Temple; and Madison favorite Robert Goderich singing the First Priest / Armored Man.
Dan Rigazzi, who has been on the directing staff at the Metropolitan Opera for ten years, makes his Madison Opera debut with this beautiful production that incorporates some steampunk elements into its fairy-tale setting. Gary Thor Wedow, a renowned Mozart conductor, makes his mainstage debut with this opera, after having conducted Opera in the Park in 2016 and 2012.
Madison Opera offers many engagement events for the public to attend before opening night of The Magic Flute. These include a presentation of Ingmar Bergman’s 1975 film The Magic Flute at Cinematheque; an exploration of Mozart and his many operas at Opera Novice; a community preview at Capitol Lakes Retirement Community; and an in-depth discussion of the opera at Opera Up Close, including a roundtable with The Magic Flute artists.