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Opera Philadelphia's THE MAGIC FLUTE Comes to the Academy, 4/19-28

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Related: The Magic Flute, Opera Philadelphia, Academy of Music

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The path to wisdom has never been so whimsical! Opera Philadelphia casts a spell on audiences this spring with a colorful production of The Magic Flute. Mozart's masterpiece of good versus evil and the search for true love runs in five performances at the Academy of Music, April 19-28, 2013. Tickets from $10 are available via Ticket Philadelphia at 215.893.1018 or operaphila.org.

A beloved, humorous, and often profound exploration of the trials of growing up, seeking ideals and finding love, The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte) follows the adventures of Prince Tamino as he undergoes feats of heroism to rescue his love, Pamina, from the forces of evil. Joining Tamino on his journey is Papageno, the comic birdcatcher, who dreams of one day finding his own sweetheart. Filled with Masonic rituals and religious allegory - Mozart and librettist Emanuel Schikaneder were members of the same lodge -The Magic Flute was an immediate hit when it debuted in 1791, with nearly 100 performances taking place in the first year after its premiere, and has been an audience favorite ever since. The opera's timeless appeal can be attributed to the music, as The Magic Flute features some of Mozart's most beautiful and infectious melodies, from the famously dazzling "Queen of the Night" aria, to the whimsical melodies of Papageno.

Replete with a menagerie of fantastical creatures, this production of The Magic Flute was originally created by Diane Paulus in 2011 for the Canadian Opera Company. Paulus, whose Broadway productions of Hair (2009) and The Gershwins' Porgy & Bess (2012) each won a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical, sets the action in 1791, the year in which Mozart's opera was first performed, against the backdrop of the Enlightenment. The entire play-within-the-opera is presented in the open space of a nobleman's garden, itself a place of enchantment and symbolic power during this historical period. As the drama unfolds, the actors leave the theatre behind and continue to enact their story in an elaborate labyrinth that covers the grounds of the estate. All distinctions between fantasy and reality fade away as their pageant lasts through the night until dawn.

Opera Philadelphia Music Director Corrado Rovaris conducts an enchanting cast headed by Spanish tenor Antonio Lozano as Tamino and soprano Elizabeth Zharoff as his love, Pamina. The duo reunites one year after heating up the Academy stage in their company debuts in Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio. Having completed her master's degree in opera at the Curtis Institute of Music in May 2012, Zharoff has recently performed leading roles with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Opera National de Bordeaux. Lozano continues to receive audience and critical acclaim for performances across the globe, in Milan, Barcelona, Berlin and Valencia, among others.

Making her Opera Philadelphia debut as the Queen of the Night is Rachele Gilmore, one of today's leading young coloratura sopranos who combines a dynamic stage presence with a silvery timbre and an effortless high register. She comes to Philadelphia fresh off a star turn with Florida Grand Opera, where her debut as Amina in Bellini's La Sonnambula was hailed for its "enormous vocal power, depth of feeling and beauty of tone" by The Miami Herald. In 2009, Gilmore made a show-stopping debut with the Metropolitan Opera in the role of Olympia in Les contes d'Hoffmann, and she has built an impressive trail of acclaim in roles with Boston Lyric Opera and Teatro alla Scala, among many others.

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