The Magic Flute OCPAC-Segerstrom Hall, Costa Mesa Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Better Than: Sitting at home in a pink bathrobe listening to two inches of rain.
Download: "Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen" by Mozart (often referred to as the Queen of The Night aria).
Even if you don't know jack shit about opera (or classical music in general) you know the name Mozart- everybody does, and if not - are you kidding me? This guy is worth more than a pinch of your time, hell - make your way to the local video store (or use your Netflix account, whatever) and the rent the movie Amadeus to get a quick round up on this incredible, musical genius. Dark and brooding? Well what talented mind isn't on some level? What may surprise you is that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart has more than an impressive knack for comedy.
What? Hey, just a moment. Are you trying to tell me that an opera can be hilarious and (gasp) even fun?!
Yes I am. Fun and delightful opera? The Magic Flute is the perfect fairy tale, complete with an evil queen, the king of everything honest and true, a boy and girl in love and cute singing bird catchers.
I was very impressed by the vibrant colors and special effects that wrapped this opening night's performance in perfection. Within the first few minutes, stunning makeshift universes and images of Earth and solar systems cast themselves onto the stage - giving one the feeling of being on another planet, where good and evil have it out in the most eccentric looking attire this side of the - um- universe?
In the opening scene of this Singspiel we are introduced to Tamino ( played by Chad Shelton ) who has just fainted while trying to keep himself from being destroyed by a monster. Instantly three lady helpers, who serve the Queen of the Night ( Luz del Alba Rubio), defeat the monster then begin to eye the unconscious prince - bickering over who will have their way with him.
No one wins, so they all leave together to tell the Queen of the attractive man who could quite possibly be the one to save her kidnapped daughter, Pamina (Nicole Cabell). The Queen of the Night offers her daughter to Tamino if only he is able to rescue her from the grasp of Sarastro (Morris Robinson - the leader of a temple that praises the gods of the sun).
If this sounds like your classic case of good verses evil, it's safe to say that it is. However - Mozart's vision is full of quirky, fun and imaginative moments that had the audience laughing pretty heartily. Most of this comic relief is attributed to a colorful bird catcher named Papageno ( Rod Gilfry you are so wonderful!), who befriends Tamino and is commanded by the Queen of the Night to accompany him on his journey to rescue Pamina. However, he turns out to be more of a comedic hindering to the trials Tamino must face. You gotta love this crazy bird!
Try to catch one of the three remaining performances which run through February 2nd at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. www.ocpac.org
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Personal Bias: I absolutely love Mozart.
Random Detail: Someone puked during the first act and a team of about five folks ran in noisily to clean it up. That's fine (wait, is it?) but could those plastic bags be any louder?!
By The Way: My grandma is the prettiest lady in all the world! Photos by Christopher Victorio, save for the first, which is courtesy OCPAC.