Mozart’s ‘Fairy Tale’ Opera To Get New Interpretation in Yale Production

Students in the Yale Opera program will perform a new translation of Mozart’s “fairy tale” opera “The Magic Flute” Friday-Sunday, Feb. 13-15, at the Shubert Theater, 247 College St.

“The Magic Flute,” Mozart’s last opera, is one of the most widely performed and most popular in the composer’s repertory. Mixing both comical whimsy and profound symbolism, the opera is actually a Singspiel, or “song-play,” with music and spoken dialogue. For this production, the spoken dialogue is in English, and director Mark Verzatt and Yale voice professor Richard Cross have collaborated on a new — and often hilarious, they say — translation.

The music will be sung in German with projected English translations.

Verzatt, who directs opera, operetta and musical theater throughout the United States and Europe, has directed the Yale Opera productions of “Die Fledermaus,” “La Bohème,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Katya Kabanova.” He began his career as an assistant stage director of the Lyric Opera of Chicago and was soon appointed as acting coach and stage director of the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists. He was the co-artistic director and director of the Young Artists Program of the Lake George Opera Festival. He has been a lecturer in opera at Yale for the past five years. In May 2006, he received Classical Singer Magazine’s award for “Stage Director of the Year.”

Federico Cortese, who was the assistant conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1998 to 2002 under Seiji Ozawa, will conduct “The Magic Flute.” He has conducted such prominent orchestras as Atlanta, Dallas, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony and the Oslo Philharmonic. His opera engagements have included “Maggio Musicale” in Florence, Italy, and the Spoleto Festival, the Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and the Finnish National Opera, among others.

The alternating casts will feature sopranos Mireille Asselin, Amanda Hall, Adelaide Muir and Samantha Lane Talmadge; mezzo-sopranos Gala El Hadidi, Ana Sinicki, Emily Righter and Chrystal Williams; tenors Eric Barry, Tadeusz Szlenker and Michael-Paul Krubitzer; baritones David Pershall and Vince Vincent; and basses Jeremy Bowes, Damien Pass and Tyler Simpson. Soprano Stephanie Gregory, an alumna of the Yale School of Music, will join the cast as a guest artist.

The three spirits in the play will be sung (also in alternating casts) by Yale College students Lucy Fitz Gibbon, Emily Misch, Eliza Bagg, Chloe Zale, Elizabeth Picker and Marianne Schuck.

Doris Yarick Cross is the artistic director of Yale Opera. She has appeared with most of the major opera companies in the Unites States, as well as those in Europe, Canada and Australia. She spent 16 years in Germany where she sang leading roles in major opera houses. She has also sung with symphony orchestras and is a well-known recitalist.

Other members of the artistic staff are lighting designer William Warfel; costume designer Thierry Bosquet (principal and men’s chorus costumes were originally created for the New York City Opera); and set designer Mikiko Suzuki MacAdams. Students from the School of Drama built the set. The chorus is drawn from the New Haven and Yale communities, and music will be performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra at Yale.

Performances of “The Magic Flute” are at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $19-$41; $13 for students with I.D. There is a 15% discount for seniors and a 25% discount for groups. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Shubert box office at (203) 562-5666 or visiting www.shubert.com. For further information, call (203) 432-4158 or visit www.yale.edu/music.

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