REVIEW: The Magic Flute

I’d like to take a moment to freak out about the brilliant lighting scheme of “The Magic Flute”. This opera is, I think, about finding a compromise between dark and light, between pure disorder and pure order, but doing so through the eyes of a child. This might not make any sense to you, but I thought that the lighting portrayed that beautifully. There was a particular circle that was useful in telling me the time of day and how I should feel about it by the color that was lighting it up.

Anyway, now for a quick summary:

“The Magic Flute” begins in the bedroom of a young girl. Her parents are fighting, it’s thunderstorming in the night, and her wardrobe doors are forced open by a young prince running away from a dragon. The Queen of the Night sends this Prince Tamino on a quest to save her daughter from her kidnapper, Sarastro (who didn’t actually kidnap her because Pamina is the daughter of the Queen of the Night and Sarastro). Pamina and Tamino fall in love while Tamino’s friend, Papageno, can’t learn to keep quiet, but in the end they manage to stop to the war between Sarastro (who appears to be a kind of lord of light) and the Queen of the Night.

That was very quick and will probably have Emanuel Schikaneder rolling in his grave, but I wanted to get that out of the way to talk about the cast. Jacob Wright and Jonathan Harris, who played Tamino and Sarastro, respectively, have outstanding voices that I remembered from “The Barber of Seville” last semester. Katy Clark’s soprano was thrilling as Queen of the Night, and Natasha Drake performed a beautiful Pamina. All of the leads were phenomenal, and I am amazed to think that there is another set of entirely different Michigan students who are equally as talented.

Although at times this show was a little slow and heavy, it was also fanciful and sentimental, and I especially enjoyed the ending. After all of their hardships, so many circumstances vying to tear them apart, Pamina and Tamino find a way to be together in the light of day, away from the chaotic Queen of the Night. As an audience we find ourselves again in the long-forgotten little girl’s bedroom where her parents are bringing her a tray for breakfast. Day has dawned over night just as it always will, but I do wish we could have seen the dragon again.