THE MAGIC FLUTE Opens February 16th At Sarasota Opera

THE MAGIC FLUTE Opens February 16th At Sarasota Opera

Three noble chords begin the Magic Flute, followed by a playful melody that frolics through the orchestra in one of Mozart's most popular overtures. Enchantment awaits as the noble Prince Tamino accompanied by only a magic flute and a bumbling birdcatcher is sent by the mysterious Queen of the Night to rescue her daughter, a princess held captive by a sorcerer. However, nothing is quite as it appears, and the dazzling musical adventure takes many twists and turns along its way to happily ever after. Last seen in 2010, The Magic Flute opens Saturday, February 16, 2019 at 7:30pm as the second opera in the Winter 2019 Festival.

Filled with captivating and memorable melodies, The Magic Flute premiered in Vienna on September 30, 1791, just over two months before Mozart died at the age of 35. On opening night, Mozart himself conducted the orchestra and also played the glockenspiel ( the magic bells ), while the librettist, Emanuel Schikaneder, sang the role of Papageno. The Magic Flute was from its very beginning a tremendous success and it continues to make frequent appearances on opera stages around the world.

Alexandra Batsios will be playing the Queen of the Night, whose show-stopping aria in Act II is one of the most demanding in the opera repertoire, with four high F's. Ms. Batsios last appeared with Sarasota Opera in 2015 in another regal role, The Queen of Shemakha in Rimsky-Korsakov's The Golden Cockerel. Princess Pamina will be played by Hanna Brammer, returning from her 2017/2018 season mainstage debuts as Micaela in Carmen and Nuri in Tiefland. Appearing as Pamina on Friday, March 1 only will be Sarasota native and former Sarasota Youth Opera member Adelaide Boedecker. The intrepid Prince Tamino will be played by Andrew Surrena, last seen as Nando in Tiefland and Alfredo in La traviata. The birdcatcher Papageno will be sung by Matthew Hanscom, who first appeared as a Sarasota Opera studio artist in 2009 and has performed in Je rusalem, Turandot, Die Fledermaus, and La bohe me, among others. Bass Making his Sarasota Opera debut as the sorcerer Sarastro is Brian Kontes, whose previous engagements include the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, and Hong Kong Opera. Stage director Mark Freiman returns after directing Norma in 2018. Conducting this treasure trove of melody is Jesse Martins, Sarasota Youth Opera Music Director. Sarasota Youth Opera members will be playing the roles of The Three Spirits.

The Magic Flute is sung in German with English translations above the stage. Individual tickets start at only $19 and are available at SarasotaOpera.org and in the Sarasota Opera Box Office. For more information on The Magic Flute as well as the rest of the 2019 season Puccini's Turandot (opening February 9), Verdi's Nabucco (opening March 2), and a comic double bill: Donizetti's Rita and Wolf-Ferrari's Susanna's Secret, (opening March 9) visit SarasotaOpera.org, contact the Sarasota Opera Box Office at (941) 328-1300, or visit in person at 61 N. Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236.

Sarasota Opera is celebrating its 60th Season of bringing world-class opera to Florida's Gulf Coast. The company was launched in 1960, when a touring chamber opera company came to the historic 320-seat Asolo Theater on the grounds of Sarasota's Ringling Museum of Art. The following year the Asolo Opera Guild was formed to present the season. By 1974 the Asolo Opera was mounting its own productions at the theater. Recognizing the need for a theater more conducive to full-scale opera, the company purchased the former A.B. Edwards Theater which in 1984 (as the Sarasota Opera House) became home to the newly renamed Sarasota Opera. The building underwent a $20 million renovation and rehabilitation in 2007 enhancing audience amenities, while updating the technical facilities, including increasing the size of the orchestra pit. The theater, which reopened in March 2008, has been called one of America's finest venues for opera by Musical America.

Since 1983, the company has been under the artistic leadership of Victor DeRenzi and administrative leadership of Executive Director Richard Russell since 2012. Sarasota Opera has garnered international attention with its Masterwork Revivals Series, which presents neglected works of artistic merit, as well as the Verdi Cycle, completed in 2016, that made Sarasota Opera the only opera company in the world to present all of Verdi's works. Recognizing the importance of training, Maestro DeRenzi founded the Apprentice and Studio Artists programs. Sarasota Opera also maintains a commitment to education through its Explorations in Opera performances for local schools and the industry-leading Sarasota Youth Opera program.

Sarasota Opera is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Programs are supported in part by an award from the Tourist Development Tax through the Board of County Commissioners, the Tourist Development Council and the Sarasota County Arts Council. Additional funding is provided by the City of Sarasota and the County of Sarasota.

Sarasota Opera 61 N. Pineapple Avenue Sarasota, FL 34236 (941) 366-8450 www.sarasotaopera.org.

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