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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 12, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 19
Seattle Opera's The Magic Flute

An addendum
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Seattle Opera's The Magic Flute

An addendum

by Rod Parke - SGN A&E Writer

SEATTLE OPERA
THE MAGIC FLUTE
May 6 (Opening Night Cast)

(Opening Night Cast:
5/6, 5/13, 5/17 & 5/20)


To the excellent review by Alice Bloch, I'll add just a footnote regarding those singers on opening night who were different from the matinee she saw. I'll also add that my audience erupted in yells and applause when Jonathan Dean's supratitles referenced 'fake news,' nearly stopping the show!

If you have a superb actor/singer in the baritone role of the 'birdman,' Papageno, you're a long way to a successful performance of Mozart's The Magic Flute. John Moore more than filled that requirement. His handsome appearance, athletic grace, and physical expression of every comic nuance were surpassed only by the beauty of his voice and a level of musicianship that was never sacrificed in achieving his wonderful antics. We can certainly look forward to his next Seattle Opera appearance as Figaro in The Barber of Seville.

Tenor Andrew Stenson gave us a committed Tamino. His acting was better than adequate and still possessed the quality I liked so much in his earlier appearances at Seattle Opera: even when not singing, his attention remained focused on the action, always participating with his colleagues and their performances. He often shaded his voice with expressive dynamics, including some lovely soft moments. His voice has, however, lost some of its youthful shine and is thus less attractive and musical than it once was.

Soprano Lauren Snouffer displayed an ample, attractive voice and natural acting. What I missed was any sustained soft singing, for which her sad aria, 'Ach, ich fühl´s' provides ideal opportunities. She showed an occasional soft note but seems not to have mastered the art of sustaining such beauties. For most singers loud singing is much easier than soft.

The overall effectiveness of Chris Alexander's direction derives no small measure of its power from his placing each singer front and center, near the lip of the stage, for every moment of important singing. The superb acoustic of McCaw Hall cannot compensate for placing singers further back on the stage. The voices lose both volume and warmth. But here, for example, the Queen of the Night makes her first entrance far back, but moves up front quite soon for her first big aria.

I share Alice's distaste for the emphatically sexist message of this story. Too bad that such attitudes continue to this day! Another of my objections to this most-tuneful of all operas is the tedious series of 'trials' the young couple must endure. They make the last act drag. To my amazement, I ended up much preferring the scandalous abridgement done by Julie Taymor for the Met in NYC and shown to the world as one of the first-ever Met Live in HD operas at cinemas world-wide. Many of us were shocked that such liberties should be taken with Mozart's great work, but it worked amazingly well.

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Seattle Opera's The Magic Flute

An addendum

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