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Arts & Culture

The Eugene Opera is back with Mozart's 'The Magic Flute'

Eugene Opera’s new production of The Magic Flute
Ari Denison, Aran Denison/Ari Denison/Color Code Studio
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Aran Denison
The Eugene Opera's production of Mozart's 'The Magic Flute' opens Friday at the Hult Center.

The Eugene Opera had just finished their dress rehearsal for Tosca on March 11th, 2020 when they had to cancel the show because of the coronavirus shutdown in Oregon.

They’ll be back on the Hult Center stage this Friday and Sunday with Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Artistic Director and Conductor Andrew Bisantz told KLCC it may seem strange to undertake the full production with new sets and costumes with the pandemic still raging. But he says the idea to perform The Magic Flute has been percolating for a long time and means a lot to the guest performers, chorus, and orchestra to be back.
“It’s a deeply meaningful experience for everybody,” he said. “Certainly all of us who are performers took a huge hit during the last 20 months and to be able to be back live in a full production with our company producing this show is incredibly powerful.”

Bisantz said the whole cast and orchestra has been rehearsing in masks these past several weeks. And, they’ve consulted with other performers for best practices.

“Artists are always adaptable and we’ve adapted and we know how to do it now,” he said. “We also have a pretty strict set of protocols just as far as monitoring the cast and the crew as far as COVID status and making sure people are staying safe.”

Bisantz said The Magic Flute was Mozart’s final opera. It’s light in tone with some of the composer’s most beautiful and spiritual music-- and a very famous aria.

“Anybody, even if they’ve never heard opera before or heard of The Magic Flute before will know the famous Queen of the Night rage aria in Act 2,” he said. “And we have the debut of Melanie Spector, a recent winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council District competition, and she’s going on to the regionals next, a brilliantly gifted young artist who really knocked it out of the park.”

Bisantz said he’s grateful that the opera was able to weather these past couple of years, even performing two smaller scale shows that were well attended.

“It’s been just so meaningful to all of us just that the community support is there and we want this production to be our give-back to everybody,” Bisantz said.

And do opera performers say, “Break a leg,” before a show?

“That’s perfect,” he said. “We often, because we’re snobbish jerks, say “Toi, toi, toi,” which is ballet dancers spitting over each other’s shoulders. But, you shouldn’t do that during COVID. So, you can also say, “In bocco al lupo,” which means in the mouth of the wolf, which is an old Italian expression.”

The Magic Flute is Friday, Jan 28, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Jan 30, 2022 at 2:30 p.m. at the Hult Center in Eugene.

Music provided courtesy of the Eugene Opera.

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