The Magic Flute In Concert ar Ravinia Festival


Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

James Conlon at Ravinia Festival

Libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder

Chicago Symphony Orchestra & Chorus

Conducted by James Conlon

Stage Direction by Michael Ehrman

At Rivinia’s Martin Theatre

Fabulous singing gives Mozart’s opera a winning summer treat

I must admit that it took a thin summer with theatre opening to get me to cover the concert version of Mozart’s The Magic Flute at Ravinia Festival. This was also my first visit to the intimate 850 seat indoor Martin Theatre. What a joy it was to see and hear the concert rendition of one of the greatest opera – The Magic Flute. Conductor James Conlon’s Chicago Symphony Orchestra  played the melodic Mozart score with zest and bravado. The intimacy of the Martin Theatre increased the fun of this light comic opera that is as enchanting today as it was in 1791.

The Magic flute at Ravinia Festival

From the smart narration by famed actor John De Lancie to the wining rendition of Papageno by baritone Nathan Gunn and the robust power of Morris Robinson’s bass as Sarastro, this event played out as much more than a concert where the singers stand at a podium and belt. Rather under the playful staging by Michael Ehrman, this Flute unfolded as a fun, well acted affair that was easy to follow and fun to watch as well as a soaring musical and vocal treat. Gunn’s Popageno was pure fun while Renee Barbera (who stepped into the role of Tamino) was golden voiced and empathetic. He smoothly acted and sang his heart out.

The opera featured exquisite singing  from Janai Brugger, Lauren McNeese and Ronita Miller as the Three Ladies. They anchored the opera. Erika Miklosa effortlessly landed her melodic  coloratura which necessitated a special bow. Alex Mansoori as the comic villain Monostatos was a hoot. The Chicago Symphony Chorus and the three  little boys – Henry  Griffin, Nicholas Edward-Levin and Liam Gannon sang like three angels.

This 2 hour, 45 minute lovable opera exuded whimsey and charm. The magnificent score catapulted the audience into opera heaven as the golden voices greeted us.  Kudos to Ravinia for producing such an ambitious summer event. In the future, I’ll be sure to cover all the opera concert events at Ravinia. So be sure to put the opera concerts on you “must see” list.

Highly Recommended

Tom Williams

Date Reviewed”  August 18, 2012

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