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Ensemble

A Rare Treat

A New Jersey 'Magic Flute',
reviewed by MARIA NOCKIN

 

The State Theatre of New Brunswick, New Jersey, was built before the age of microphones, so it must have had good acoustics to begin with. The lavishly decorated 1800 seat auditorium, which opened in 1921, originally presented vaudeville acts and silent movies accompanied by live music. Remodeled in 1997 and again in 2003, this theater is now an excellent concert hall and can function as an opera house even though its orchestra pit is not much lower than the seats directly behind it.

Shon Sims as Papageno and Liubov Metodieva as Papagena in the Mozart Festival Opera production of 'The Magic Flute'. Photo © Robin Grant
Shon Sims as Papageno and Liubov Metodieva as Papagena in the Mozart Festival Opera production of 'The Magic Flute'. Photo © Robin Grant

At that theater on 11 March 2006, Mozart Festival Opera presented that composer's 1791 singspiel, Die Zauberflöte. The libretto was written by actor, singer, producer and theater manager, Emanuel Schikaneder for performances in suburban Vienna. Schikaneder's productions attracted people from various segments of the population, so the singspiel had to appeal to less educated members of the audience as well as to more intellectually minded theater goers. For that reason the librettist wrote the starring role of Papageno, the man who professes to love food and drink far more than abstract goodness, for himself so that he could play it to the hilt.

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Copyright © 11 April 2006 Maria Nockin, Arizona USA

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