BARD COLLEGE PRODUCTION OF MOZART'S OPERA THE MAGIC FLUTE PREMIERES ON FRIDAY, APRIL 23.ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.-The Drama/Dance Program at Bard College will present performances of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera The Magic Flute from Friday, April 23, through Thursday, April 29. Performances will be given at 8:00 p.m. each evening except on Saturday, April 24, when a there will be a matinee at 3:00 p.m.; there will be no performances on Monday, April 26, and Wednesday, April 28. The opera will be presented in the Scene Shop Theater at the Avery Center for the Arts. Admission is free, but reservations are necessary, as seating is limited. Call 914-758-8622 for information.
The production features Bard College students who "not only sing, but really act," according to director Jeffrey Sichel, professor of drama at Bard. This is the third opera that Sichel has directed at the college. The previous two, Pelleas and Melisanda and Don Giovanni, were so well received that each sold out, and there were offers to restage Pelleas off-Broadway in Manhattan. Sichel declined the offers, stating that he did not want the "students prematurely exposed to a commercial venture." He notes that nearly half the available seats for The Magic Flute have already been reserved, so those planning to attend should make reservations promptly. For this production Sichel will transform the intimate black-box theater into a miniature opera house, complete with an orchestra pit.
The Magic Flute is one of Mozart's most imaginative operas, set in a world where the Queen and King of Night reign and the hero and heroine, Tamino and Pamina, embark on a life-or-death quest. Sichel aims to evoke the magical and mystical creation that Mozart envisioned. The scenery for the Bard production was designed by David Maxime, the costumes by Angelina Avalone, and the lighting by Murphy Gigloitti. The orchestra will be conducted by Eckert Preu, the assistant conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra. The performances will feature a new English translation of the original German libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder by William Driver. Driver is the Wallace Benjamin Flint and L. May Hawver Flint Professor of Drama at Bard.
Jeffrey Sichel has taught at Bard since 1997. He received his undergraduate degree from Skidmore College and the MFA degree from Columbia University. "I taught at Columbia before teaching here," Sichel says. "Without a doubt, Bard surpasses the quality of Columbia students in terms of theatrical ingenuity. I'm fascinated by the energy that the students bring to their projects here." Sichel was the founder and artistic director of his own off-Broadway company, the Empty Space Theatre Company. He has been a musical collaborator with Gordon Gano of the band Violent Femmes and has worked with the New York Theatre Workshop. Formerly assistant director of the Obie Award-winning En Garde Arts, Sichel also has worked with Julie Taymore, director of the Lion King; the producers of Rent; and The Knitting Factory.
Sichel sees opera at Bard as a true integration of a variety of curricula, thus fulfilling the goals of liberal arts education The students who are involved in the productions, he notes, are extremely dedicated, and have made a year-long commitment to bring this production to fruition, through a process of learning and rehearsing in a mixture of classroom and rehearsal time. He notes that production of opera on this scale is "extremely ambitious and unique for a small liberal arts school."
For further information about and reservations for the production of The Magic Flute, which is sponsored by the President's Office of Bard College, call 914-758-8622.
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