Friday, November 15, 2013

The Magic Flute at The Benedum

For Immediate Release                                                                     October 31, 2013

Debra L. Bell, Director of Marketing and Communications
Office: (412) 281-0912 ext 214 or

Pittsburgh Opera presents a Mozart favorite, THE MAGIC FLUTE, sung in English
Current and former Resident Artists star in most roles

What:              Wolfgang Mozart’s opera THE MAGIC FLUTE

Where:           Benedum Center for the Performing Arts
                        7th Street and Penn Avenue, Downtown Pittsburgh

When:             Saturday, November 9, 8:00 PM            Tuesday, November 12, 7:00 PM
                        Friday, November 15, 8:00 PM               Sunday, November 17, 2:00 PM

Run Time:      2 hours, 50 minutes, including 1 intermission

Language:     Sung in English with English texts projected above the stage

Tickets:          Start at $12 for all performances.
                  Call 412-456-6666 for more information or visit

Of Special      $5 kids’ ticket offer for the Tuesday, November 12 performance
Note:              of THE MAGIC FLUTE.
Related Events: FREE Brown Bag concert; WQED Preview; Meet the Artists; Audio Description for those with visual impairments.

Pittsburgh, PA… Pittsburgh Opera continues its 75th anniversary season with a popular favorite, Mozart’s final opera: THE MAGIC FLUTE. On stage at the Benedum Center November 9 - 17, this charming, fantastical, and “gorgeously whimsical” production (The Globe and Mail) by Diane Paulus (The Donkey Show, Hair) is appealing for all ages. Featuring large animal puppets (operated by supernumeraries) and spectacular costumes, the opera showcases a cast comprised of outstanding former Resident Artists, current Resident Artists, and a debut by a star on the rise.

Pittsburgh Opera’s THE MAGIC FLUTE brings the debut of red-hot Canadian soprano Layla Claire as Pamina; she and former Resident Artist Sean Panikkar (The Pearl Fishers, 2011; ‘America’s Got Talent’ finalist with tenor trio “Forte”) star as the lovers Pamina and Tamino. The company also welcomes back former Resident Artists Craig Verm (The Pearl Fishers, 2011) as Papageno; Audrey E. Luna (The Magic Flute, 2006) as Queen of the Night, and Oren Gradus (Aida, 2013) as Sarastro.

In what may be a first in recent Pittsburgh Opera history, the former Resident Artists are joined by all of the current Resident Artists in one production, including the Resident Artist stage director! Jasmine Muhammad, Samantha Korbey and Nicole Rodin are the Three Ladies; Joseph Barron is the Speaker; Daniel Curran is Monostatos; Meredith Lustig is Papagena; Alex DeSocio is the First Priest, and Phillip Gay is the Second Armored Man. George Cederquist is Assistant Director for THE MAGIC FLUTE.

Music Director Antony Walker returns to conduct the Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra and Chorus. Jen Nicoll (The Elixir of Love, 2007) returns as stage director.

Tickets to THE MAGIC FLUTE start at $12, with all performances at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts, 7th Street and Penn Avenue, Downtown Pittsburgh. For additional information, videos, photos, musical samples, cast biographies, and the full story of AIDA, visit To purchase tickets, call 412-456-6666 or

Facts about the opera
           The Magic Flute is noted for its prominent Masonic elements; Mozart and his librettist Schikaneder were lodge brothers. The story itself portrays the education of mankind, progressing from chaos to enlightenment, by means of trial and error, ultimately to make "the Earth a heavenly kingdom, and mortals like the gods". Why did Mozart weight a comedy with this heavy baggage? In both the Old World and the New, the giants of the Enlightenment –Voltaire, Goethe, Washington and Jefferson–were Freemasons. In Mozart’s time, the idea of inalienable human rights was new. But it was the essence of Freemasonry, and Mozart meant to convey it.
           Characterized as a “singspiel”, The Magic Flute includes spoken dialogue throughout. It was not composed in Italian for a metropolitan audience, but in German, for the local audience, at Theater auf der Wieden, a rickety old theater in a Viennese suburb.
           At the premiere of The Magic Flute, Mozart conducted the orchestra, while librettist Schikaneder played Papageno. Mozart’s sister-in-law Josepha Hofer sang the role of the Queen of the Night.

The story, in brief
A monster chases Prince Tamino, and when he falls unconscious, three ladies in the service of the Queen of the Night kill the beast. They leave to tell the Queen, and Tamino awakens, assuming he was saved by Papageno, a bird-catcher who has just arrived. When Papageno takes the credit, the ladies reappear and padlock his lips to punish him for lying. They show Tamino a picture of Pamina, the Queen’s beautiful daughter, and he immediately falls in love with her. When they tell him that Pamina has been kidnapped by Sarastro, a magician, the Queen appears and asks Tamino to rescue her. He agrees, and the ladies free Papageno, giving him a set of magic bells and Tamino a magic flute.

Papageno is confronted at Sarastro’s palace by Monostatos, who attempts to seduce Pamina, but is scared off by Papageno. The bird-catcher tells Pamina that Tamino will rescue her. Pamina rejoices that she now has somebody to love, and the lonely Papageno dreams of a wife.

Three Spirits lead Tamino to a temple in Sarastro’s palace. A priest informs him that the Queen is really the evil one, and that Sarastro was trying to free Pamina from her mother’s influence. Tamino leaves to find Pamina, who has escaped from the palace with Papageno. Monostatos soon finds them, but Papageno plays his magic bells, paralyzing the villains. Monostatos drags in Tamino and demands a reward, but is instead punished for his evil deeds. Sarastro orders Tamino and Pamina to be taken to the temple for purification.
Sarastro orders that Tamino and Papageno must undergo initiation rites to determine their worthiness to enter the Temple of Light. The Queen visits Pamina, commanding her to murder Sarastro with a dagger. Pamina refuses and begs Sarastro to forgive her mother. He agrees, declaring that only love will lead to peace and happiness.

As part of their initiation, Tamino and Papageno are sworn to silence. An old woman appears briefly to Papageno, declaring that she is really 18 years old and in love with him. Pamina arrives in the temple, but misunderstands Tamino’s silence, thinking he does not love her. The old woman returns to the lovesick Papageno, and is transformed into Papagena, but is quickly ordered away. Meanwhile, Pamina, about to kill herself with the dagger her mother gave her, is prevented by the Three Spirits, who take her to Tamino. Pamina joins him in the final trial, and the pair emerges unscathed, thanks to the magic of Tamino’s flute.

The Three Spirits encounter Papageno attempting to kill himself, and suggest that instead he play his magic bells. When he does, Papagena appears and the two declare their love and their intent to start a large family. Monostatos joins forces with the Queen of the Night to kill Sarastro, but their plan is foiled when their powers are destroyed and they are cast into eternal night. Sarastro, joined by Tamino and Pamina, celebrates the victory of light over darkness.
Tickets to THE MAGIC FLUTE start at $12, with all performances at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts, 7th Street and Penn Avenue, Downtown Pittsburgh. For additional information, videos, photos, musical samples, cast biographies, and the full story of THE MAGIC FLUTE, visit To purchase tickets, call 412-456-6666 or visit

The 2013-14 Pittsburgh Opera season is generously supported by PNC.
American Eagle Outfitters is the Friday Night Sponsor.
The Jack Buncher Foundation generously sponsors the $5 Kids Ticket Offer for THE MAGIC FLUTE.
Cast and Artistic Team (abbreviated list; cast is listed in order of vocal appearance)

Tamino                                                     Sean Panikkar **
First Lady                                                  Jasmine Muhammad *
Second Lady                                            Samantha Korbey *
Third Lady                                                 Nicole Rodin *
Papageno                                                 Craig Verm **
Queen of the Night                                   Audrey E. Luna **
Monostatos                                               Daniel Curran *
Pamina                                                     Layla Claire +
Speaker                                                    Joseph Barron *
Sarastro                                                    Oren Gradus **
Conductor                                                 Antony Walker
Director                                                     Jen Nicoll
Set & Costume Designer                         Myung-Hee Cho
Lighting Designer                                     Drew Billiau

Asst. Conductor                                       Glenn Lewis
Chorus Master                                          Mark Trawka
Associate Coach/Pianist                          James Lesniak
Hair & Makeup Designer                          James Geier

THE MAGIC FLUTE is a Diane Paulus production for Canadian Opera Company.

+    Pittsburgh Opera debut
*     Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist
**   Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist alumni

Special $5 Kids Ticket Offer
This “gorgeously whimsical” (The Globe and Mail) production of THE MAGIC FLUTE is great for all ages. Thanks to the Jack Buncher Foundation, Pittsburgh Opera offers a $5 kids ticket offer: bring the kids and grandkids (ages 6-12) to the Tuesday, November 12 performance of THE MAGIC FLUTE at 7:00 PM for just $5 per child’s ticket. Kids must be accompanied by an adult; other restrictions apply. Details are at the Pittsburgh Opera website.

Tickets and Group Discounts
Tickets for all performances of THE MAGIC FLUTE start at $12. Group discounts are available. For tickets, call (412) 456-6666 or visit For discounted group tickets (6 or more), contact Randy Adams at 412-281-0912, x 213.

Related Events

Saturday, November 2 – 1:00 p.m.; Friday, November 8 – 7:00 p.m.
Hosted by WQED’s Stephen Baum, and broadcast over the airwaves as well as the WQED website, the MAGIC FLUTE preview gives listeners an engaging introduction to the singers, music and story of the opera. For more information, visit

Brown Bag Concert
Saturday, November 16 – 12:00 p.m.
George R. White Opera Studio, Pittsburgh Opera Headquarters (2425 Liberty Avenue)
These casual, one-hour concerts feature our Resident Artists in the George R. White Opera Studio at Pittsburgh Opera Headquarters. Attendees are encouraged to bring a friend and
bring a lunch. Guests can meet the performers after the concert. Free and open to the public; no RSVP required. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. For more information, call (412) 281-0912 or visit

Pre-Opera Talks
Benedum Center Main Floor
Ticketholders are invited to attend a Pre-Opera Talk on THE MAGIC FLUTE one hour before each performance’s curtain in the Orchestra Section (Main Floor) of the Benedum Center. Learn about the composer and the story of the opera. Free to all ticketholders.

Audio Description: THE MAGIC FLUTE
Tuesday, November 12
Benedum Center Main Floor
Ticketholders with visual impairments are invited to use Pittsburgh Opera’s Audio Commentary service at our Tuesday performances. Trained volunteers describe the scenery, costumes, and stage action via headphones. Those wishing to use Audio Description should reserve seats to the Tuesday, November 12 performance: call Randy Adams at 412-281-0912, ext. 213 or Braille and large-print opera programs are also available in the Benedum Grand Lobby.

Meet the Artists of THE MAGIC FLUTE
Tuesday, November 12
Immediately following the opera, in the Benedum Lower Lobby
Ticketholders for the Tuesday, November 12 performance of THE MAGIC FLUTE are invited to gather in the Benedum Lower Lobby immediately following the performance for interviews with General Director Christopher Hahn and the stars of the opera. This event is free to all Tuesday performance ticketholders.

Pittsburgh Opera celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2013-14 with OPERA FOR A NEW AGE, a mix of long-beloved operas and new favorites. Established by five intrepid women in 1939, Pittsburgh Opera is viewed as one of the most vibrant opera organizations in the U.S., with a rich artistic tradition, outstanding educational programs, an acclaimed artist training program, and a progressive outlook toward the future. Its green initiative culminated in LEED® Silver certification for its Strip District headquarters, and its capacity as a true community partner has increased significantly under General Director Christopher Hahn’s leadership. Tickets for the 2013-2014 season start at just $12.

2013-14 Season
AIDA •• October 12 – 20, 2013
THE MAGIC FLUTE •• November 9 – 17, 2013
DARK SISTERS •• January 25 – February 2, 2014
SECOND STAGE PROJECT: PAUL’S CASE •• February 22 – March 2, 2014
LA BOHÈME •• March 26 – April 6, 2014
ORPHÉE •• April 26 – May 4, 2014
For ticket information visit our website or call (412) 281-0912
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Photo Credit:  David Bachman
Posted on behalf of Dreamweaver Marketing Associates.  Joyce Kane is the owner of Cybertary Pittsburgh, a Virtual Administrative support company, providing virtual office support, personal and executive assistance, creative design services and light bookkeeping.  Cybertary works with businesses and busy individuals to help them work 'on' their business rather than 'in' their business.

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