CIM students capture the 'magic' of Mozart’s opera
A large, appreciative audience delighted in snippets from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera, “The Magic Flute” at Westlake Porter Public Library on Oct. 15. Sung by four voice students from the Cleveland Institute of Music with piano accompaniment by John Simmons, music director, the arias previewed performances of the full opera to be given at CIM Nov. 6-9. David Bamberger, director of opera theater at the Institute, provided a synopsis of the story and color commentary for the FYI: Opera program sponsored by the Westlake-Westshore Arts Council and offered free to the public.
Mr. Bamberger introduced the bird-catcher Papageno, baritone Armando Contreras, who could be heard playing bird calls on the pipes and seen zigzagging down the aisle charming all of us and subsequently singing about himself and his search for a girlfriend. His voice and face eloquently expressed an aching long felt. Papageno then met the prince, Tamino, tenor David Fair, who had just been saved from death. He was declaring his love for the beautiful Pamina, portrayed by soprano Caroline Bergan, whose portrait he had just been given and which he had hung around his neck. Tamino, enraptured by Pamina’s loveliness, sang of his desire to meet her and make her his. Fair’s soulful plea captured the prince’s desperation and longing.
Suddenly the Queen of the Night, Pamina’s mother, appeared grieving for her daughter who had been abducted by the evil Sarastro. Filled with vengeance and more than a little violence, the queen was depicted by Zoe Schumann with wonderful intensity and drama. She told the prince that if he rescued her daughter he could marry her. Tamino with a magic flute and Papagano with a set of bells given to them to protect them on their journey, set out in search of Pamina. Papageno found her first, telling Pamina of Tamino’s love for her. As they celebrated she told Papageno that he too will find the person of his dreams. Their singing filled the air with wonderful joy.
Tamino meanwhile learned from a high priest that the Queen of the Night is the evil one. Sarastro had kept Pamina safe and had told her she would eventually be set free.
The queen again appeared, giving her daughter a dagger and ordering her to kill Sarastro. Much more happened. There was great sadness, seemingly unrequited love, a suicide attempt and all kinds of excitement, but Mr. Bamberger assured us with droll commentary that all ended well.
The students' superb drama talents as well as their glorious voices and the skillful enhancement provided by Mr. Simmons received strong praise from the audience, who clapped enthusiastically and later talked of their desire to attend the upcoming full production of the opera at CIM in November.