Show-Me Opera's 'The Magic Flute' includes MU University Philharmonic

Wednesday, April 15, 2009 | 11:50 a.m. CDT; updated 8:42 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Betsey Bledsoe, Stephanie Sander and Rachel Wyss sing a song as the three ladies during Show-Me Opera's rehearsal of the opera "The Magic Flute" inside McKee Gymnasium on April 8. In the opera, the three had just finished slaying a serpent to rescue a prince.

COLUMBIA — Coloratura soprano Sarah Tannehill brings her sparkling high range as Queen of the Night to the Show-Me Opera's production of "The Magic Flute" this weekend.

"The part of the Queen of the Night has the high F in both arias, and it’s the highest note written for any stage work," said the opera's director Christine Seitz.

If you go

What: MU's Show-Me Opera's performance of Mozart's "The Magic Flute"

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; talk by musicologist Michael Budds is at 6:15 p.m.

Where: Missouri Theater Center for the Arts, 203 S. Ninth St.

Admission: Adults: $15, seniors: $10, students and children under 12: $5

For more information:


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The Show-Me Opera is collaborating with the University Philharmonic Orchestra for the performance, which will be preceded by a talk by Michael Budds, musicologist and associate professor in MU's School of Music. 

Seitz said "The Magic Flute" was selected after consulting with Robert Shay, director of the School of Music, and other music faculty members.

"I’m excited about the totality of this production," Seitz said. "To have so many students involved and to add the element of the orchestra makes this a really exciting production."

"The Magic Flute" was composed in 1791 and was the last work Mozart completed before his death. The comic opera tells the story of Tamino, a handsome prince, who uses a magic flute to help save his love, Pamina, who is imprisoned by a man named Sarastro. This opera is strongly influenced by the Masons, a fraternal society of which Mozart was a member; Masonic rituals and rites of passages are demonstrated in various scenes throughout the production.

“This is one of the most beloved works in opera repertoire," Seitz said. "It remains an audience favorite everywhere you go."

The opera was written in German but will be performed in English by the Show-Me Opera. "Very often in our culture today, comic operas are sung in English so we can understand the humor," Budds said.

In his pre-performance talk, Budds will explain the work's musical and historical context, treating the audience as he would his students in a classroom setting. "My job as a teacher is to help my students cultivate intelligent expectations about music," Budds said.

Tannehill held a roundtable discussion with the singers Tuesday evening to answer their questions about being a professional musician. She has performed in numerous professional productions in Kansas City and teaches voice there now.

As the cast and crew prepared for opening night, they reflected on the versatility of "The Magic Flute." Molly Clodius, an MU graduate student who will play Pamina, said the production is engaging as well as entertaining. "It appeals to a wide audience," Clodius said. "It's a good first opera to see."

Tim Whipple, an undergraduate student at MU who has performed with the Show-Me Opera for the past five years and this time plays the comic character Papageno, said he hopes the production dispels the idea that opera is dry or boring.

"The most rewarding part of performing is when your audience enjoys it,” Whipple said. “It’s my hope that I'll get lots of laughs."

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