Middlebury evening at the opera

Soprano Jurate Svedaite is a vocal coach with the Connecticut Lyric Opera. Her students will perform in "The Magic Flute" this week, with a Saturday performance at Westover School in Middlebury.

Soprano Jurate Svedaite is a vocal coach with the Connecticut Lyric Opera. Her students will perform in “The Magic Flute” this week, with a Saturday performance at Westover School in Middlebury.

The Connecticut Lyric Opera and the Connecticut Summer Opera Foundation, a Woodbury-based nonprofit arts organization, will present Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” (“Die Zauberflöte”) Saturday, Aug. 23, at 7:30 p.m. at Westover School in Middlebury. A separate, preconcert, prix-fixe dinner option is available at 5:30 p.m. at The Café at Whittemore Crossing at 1365 Whittemore Road in Middlebury.

Connecticut Lyric Opera (CLO), the state’s only year-round professional opera company, is in its 12th season. For the last four summers, CLO and its professional orchestra, the Connecticut Virtuosi, have held a summer institute offering both operatic vocal and instrumental music instruction at Tunxis Community College in Farmington. This year, over 120 singers auditioned for a place in the competitive two-week vocal program, and a similar number auditioned to be in its instrumental program.

The capstone of this summer’s program, Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” features CLO summer institute program vocalists and the Connecticut Virtuosi Festival Orchestra, which comprises professional musicians and institute students. The opera, with music by Wolfgang Mozart and a libretto by Emanuel Schickaneder, premiered Sept. 30, 1791, in Vienna, two months before the composer’s untimely passing. It remains one of Mozart’s most popular and enduring compositions and has been performed numerous times, not only in all of the great opera houses of the world, but in many different adaptations, both professional and amateur.

The opera was created in the form of Singspiel, a type of musical drama that has sung arias and ensemble pieces as well as spoken dialogue. It is in two acts, and runs a total of 90 minutes with an intermission with refreshments. The performance Aug. 23 will be fully staged, with costumes and a delightful set designed by members of CLO and the Summer Institute.

“The Magic Flute” can be enjoyed on several different levels. It is, first and foremost, a delightful and melodic musical story of love, fidelity and courage, with memorable tunes and with a story line that can be understood by children and adults alike with its three pairs of protagonists: Tamino and Pamina, the birdcatcher Papageno and Papagena, and the Queen of the Night and Sarastro. At the same time, it also can be experienced as a Masonic allegory, with signs and symbols that resonate with those who recognize them. At the deepest level, it is an esoteric drama with elements of Illuminati lore hidden within. At all of the levels, the music and its sublime and rich melodies and harmonies, at times funny and at others poignant, noble and uplifting, always reign supreme.

adrian-sylveenThe role of Pamina will be performed by Janina Sridhar. Tamino will be sung by Steven Hoagland, Papageno will be performed by Hartley Horn, and Papagena will be sung by Emily Hughes. The role of The Queen of the Night will be sung by Nadia Aguilar. Monostatos will be essayed by Daniel Juarez. The Three Ladies are Sara Emerson, Christina Gaschel and Heather O’Connor, and the Spirit is Maya Belgrade. The CLO/Virtuosi summer institute is under the direction of CLO artistic director, Maestro Adrian Sylveen, and soprano Jurate Svedaite, who also teaches voice at Connecticut College in New London.

There will be three “Magic Flute” perfomances: Thursday, Aug. 21, at Tunxis Community College in Farmington; Saturday, Aug. 23, at Westover School in Middlebury; and Sunday, Aug. 24, in New London. Tickets for the Aug. 23 performance are $40 ($20 for seniors and students). Checks can be made payable to “CSOF” and sent to CSOF, P.O. Box 112, Woodbury CT 06798. Cash and checks will be accepted at the door. For opera reservations, call 203-266-4500. For pre-concert dinner reservations, please call 203-528-0130.

Westover School is at 1237 Whittemore Road in Middlebury. CSOF is a 501(c)3 nonprofit arts organization established in 2012 in Woodbury, whose two-fold mission is to support young conservatory-trained singers in the operatic art form and to bring opera to elementary and middle school students, the next generation’s classical music audience and its stars.


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