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Music Academy to Receive $12,500 NEA Grant for Production of ‘The Magic Flute’

The Music Academy of the West will receive a $12,500 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to help fund its production of Wolfgang Mozart’s timeless opera The Magic Flute during the academy’s 2013 Summer School and Festival.

The grant, the third the academy has received from the NEA in as many years, reaffirms the institution’s stature as a premier classical music training facility, according to Academy President Scott Reed.

“In addition to providing much-needed funding, this grant further validates our programmatic mission and vision,” Reed said. “The Music Academy’s annual opera production is a vital component of our Fellows’ training experience, and we are honored to have the NEA’s partnership through this new grant.”

The only Santa Barbara-area group to receive NEA support during the current grant-making cycle, the Music Academy is among 832 nonprofit organizations to receive funding as part of the endowment’s first round of fiscal year 2013 grants. During this phase the NEA will distribute $23.3 million nationwide in support of projects spanning 13 artistic disciplines and fields.

An independent federal agency, the NEA advances artistic excellence, creativity and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities.

“Through a rigorous peer-review panel process, the NEA ensures that projects recommended for funding are among the most creative, the most effective, and will make a real impact,” NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman said. “These projects offer extraordinary examples of creativity in our country, including the creation of new work, innovative ways of engaging audiences and exemplary education programs.”

The Music Academy will present a fully staged production of The Magic Flute — Santa Barbara’s first in 15 years — at the historic Granada Theatre on Aug. 2-4. The performances will be conducted by academy faculty member and celebrated pianist Warren Jones, with stage direction by Juilliard faculty member David Paul, who oversaw the academy’s well-received production of The Rake’s Progress this past summer.

Since its premiere in Vienna on Sept. 30, 1791, The Magic Flute has become the world’s most frequently performed opera. Boasting an astounding cast of creatures and what is perhaps the art form’s most popular aria (sung by the Queen of the Night), Mozart’s final opera is endlessly inventive, charmingly fantastical and utterly unique, blending myth, magic and an extraordinary variety of tuneful music in a tale of romantic love and spiritual transcendence.

The Magic Flute is simply a masterpiece, and it’s fresh every time you hear it! I am so pleased to have the NEA’s support for our production,” said legendary mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne, who has directed the Music Academy’s acclaimed Voice Program since 1997. Horne was named an NEA Opera Honoree in 2009.

The Music Academy of the West’s 66th anniversary Summer School and Festival will take place June 17 to Aug. 10. Additional highlights will include conducting turns by James Gaffigan, Leonard Slatkin, Nicholas McGegan, Matthias Pintscher, Bernard Labadie, Tito Muñoz and Larry Rachleff. Featuring the academy’s exceptionally talented Fellows, together with illustrious guest performers and faculty, the events will be presented at the academy’s scenic Miraflores campus and in venues throughout Santa Barbara.

— Tim Dougherty is the communications manager for the Music Academy of the West.

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