The student newspaper of Nicholls State University

Nicholls opera workshop presents “The Magic Flute”

April 6, 2017

The fairy tale opera written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart follows the adventure of Prince Tamino as he tries to win back the Queen of the Night’s daughter, Pamina.

Prince Tamino is persuaded by the Queen of the Night. He’s asked to rescue Pamina, who is being held captive by the high priest Sarastro. Tamino is accompanied by Papageno, a half man and half bird hoping to become fully human.

Throughout the performance, Tamino and Pamina go through many trials which ultimately end up in triumph.

“My favorite scene in the opera is one of Pamina’s arias,” Kellie Gaspard, vocal performance junior from Thibodaux, said. “It happens in the second act. It’s a very sad and woeful aria. Pamina thinks her lover does not love her anymore because he is ignoring her and she is singing about that moment.”

Arias are expressive melodies usually performed in operas. A few of the major arias will be performed in German, the language the opera was composed in. The other arias, duets and dialogue will be in English.

“We were able to receive a script from Metropolitan Opera,” Jiaxuan Zhu, voice senior from Wenzhou, China, said. “Some parts of the script will be in English instead of German. The opera was also originally composed for lower class people. Therefore, the wording in the opera is very easy to understand.”

The cast of “The Magic Flute” consists of about twenty current Nicholls students, faculty and alumni. High school, middle school and elementary students also participate in the opera.

“In Mozart’s operas’, he would give everyone an equal role,” Grace Hebert, vocal performance senior from Bourg, said. “For example, in ‘The Magic Flute’ everyone has an equal level of importance and everyone gets their moment to shine.”

Students do not have to be enrolled in the Opera Workshop class to help with the production. Students in the class receive credit for working on the production and have opportunities to improve their vocal technique.

“Opera has two main challenges in my opinion,” Hebert said. “The technique we use and coming together as a whole. We always have to make sure our voices and our bodies are in the absolute best condition for the performance. This is one reason why the class is so helpful. We are constantly practicing and improving. Coming together can also be challenge; we have to understand that we are all working towards the same goal.”

The cast and crew of “The Magic Flute” began working on the production back in August learning lines and practicing vocals. Valerie Francis, the director and Nicholls assistant professor of music, selected the students who played each particular role.

“I know the opera is not for everyone,” Gaspard said. “I would definitely say give it a try. If you sit there and listen to what the actors and singers are telling you or singing about, you will hear the life lessons. This one in particular is good triumphs over evil.”

“The Magic Flute” will open tonight at 7:30 p.m. and end Sunday in the Mary and Al Danos Theater. General admission is $10 and admission for students with ID is $5.

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