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Sunday, March 24 , 2019, 8:42 am | Mostly Cloudy 49º


Gerald Carpenter: Westmont + Blondell + Mozart = Magic

Westmont College will stage an exciting new production of Wolfgang Mozart's Masonic mystery opera The Magic Flute at 7 p.m. Friday, Sunday and Tuesday, March 1, 3 and 5 in the New Vic Theater, 33 W Victoria St., Santa Barbara.

What makes this production exciting, in addition to all that youthful ardor and musical brilliance, is that it will be directed by our resident theatrical mage himself, John Blondell, with the music conducted by Michael Shasberger.

The talented young cast includes Fritz Mora as Tamino, John Butler as Papageno, Jessica Lingua as Pamina, and Michelle Vera as Oberon, the Queen of the Night.

Plugging Blondell into "Die Zauberflöte" sets all of one's aesthetic circuits aglow. Notwithstanding the two-plus centuries that separate them, it feels as if the opera were composed for this director.

One might almost say, with Melville's Ahab, "This whole act's immutably decreed. 'Twas rehearsed by thee and me a billion years before this ocean rolled."

"Few small colleges tackle these productions," said the director. "I’m proud of the departments and students who want to grapple and engage with this great material. It’s always such a joy and a marvel to work with Michael ...

"It’s the music that deeply captivates me and carries me along a series of theatrical questions of how to best express and allow it to become fully alive and present in the imaginations and hearts of the audience.

"The score has one ravishing number after the next. There is a beauty, lushness and transparency to the music that I find completely irresistible."
Tickets to The Magic Flute are $20 general admission, $15 for students and seniors. Tickets can be obtained at the door, or on line at newvictheater.com.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

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