Nashville Opera’s final production of the 2012-13 season is a grand staging of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Performances are Thursday, April 11 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, April 13 at 8 p.m. at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s Andrew Jackson Hall (505 Deaderick St.). The production is directed by John Hoomes, General and Artistic Director of Nashville Opera, and features the Nashville Symphony under the baton of Maestro Andy Anderson, who is making his first appearance with the Nashville Opera.
The genius of Mozart shines bright in this masterfully diverse mix of unforgettable melodies, majestic choruses, and stratospheric, show-stopping coloratura singing. The libretto follows the adventures of Prince Tamino and Papageno the Bird Catcher as they set forth to save the captured Princess Pamina. One of the most imaginative entertainments ever created, The Magic Flute blends myth, enchantment, and the fight between good and evil to deliver the life-affirming message: love conquers all.
“The Magic Flute is a brilliant juxtaposition of the ultimate quest to bring about the enlightenment of mankind, combined with clever moments of high comedy as provided by Papageno the Bird Catcher,” says Hoomes. “With this opera, Mozart has given us a final gift, teeming with comedy, drama, humanity, and some of his most enchanting music.”
The cast of internationally-acclaimed principal artists includes tenor Vale Rideout as Tamino, The 2012-13 Bovender Principal Artist soprano Jennifer Zetlan as Pamina, baritone Levi Hernandez as Papageno, soprano Kathryn Lewek as Queen of the Night (a role which will be her Metropolitan Opera debut on Dec. 28) and in his Nashville Opera debut bass-baritone Keith Miller as Sarastro. The 34-member Nashville Opera Ensemble is led by Chorusmaster and Accompanist Amy Tate Williams.
The work which was completed in 1791, only months before Mozart’s death, proved to be his last dramatic composition. Written as a Singspiel, a technique in which the musical numbers alternated with spoken dialogue, The Magic Flute was commissioned by Emanuel Schikaneder in 1788 for his Theater auf der Wieden in a suburb of Vienna. The theatre specialized in homemade entertainment – fairy tale plays in foreign backgrounds with improvised dialogue, spectacular scenic effects and nods to current events and personalities. The opera was a perfect fit for the troupe as the characters were often lower middle-class and exhibited more simple or humble virtues than those from serious opera settings.
Tickets range from $26 to $102.50 and are available by calling Nashville Opera at (615) 832-5242, the Tennessee Performing Arts Center Box Office at (615) 782-4040 or online at www.nashvilleopera.org. A limited number of “pay-what-you-can” seats can be purchased directly from Nashville Opera’s main offices at the Noah Liff Opera Center in Sylvan Heights for a minimum suggested donation of $5. The Magic Flute is sung in German with spoken dialogue in English, and features projected English translations of the arias.
About Keith Miller
Miller was star fullback for the University of Colorado, and played in numerous major college bowl games including two Fiesta Bowls, the Cotton Bowl, Aloha Bowl and Independence Bowl. In 1996, he carried the Olympic torch for the Atlanta Games along a portion of the old Pony Express trail in his home state. Miller played professional football for five years and had a promising pro career, playing for the European and Arena Football Leagues and serious shots with NFL teams were on the horizon. He was also in the President’s Leadership class, a highly selective honors class, unusual for a star athlete. But along the way, another passion was taking hold: music. In opera terms, his rise has been meteoric. In less than six years as a professional singer, Miller has drawn on his powerfully resonant rumble of a voice, sculpted physique and astounding athleticism to put his stamp on operatic productions old and new. Miller has sung in over 200 performances at the Metropolitan Opera, appeared in numerous HD Met Opera productions broadcast to movie theatres in 46 countries, and increasingly performs on the concert stage. Opera News has hailed his “smoldering presence and sharp, booming delivery” and called him an “artist to watch.”
About Bovender Principal Artist
The Bovender Principal Artist fund was created with a generous contribution to the company’s Raise Your Glasses campaign to assist Nashville Opera in attracting the most talented principal artists each season. In 2012, Tenor Roy Cornelius Smith, who was “Dick Johnson” in The Girl of the Golden West, became the first opera singer to be named a Bovender Principal Artist. The designation will be given each year through the 2021 season.
*Production artwork and photos courtesy Nashville Opera.