Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Reviews from Elsewhere: Paul E. Robinson on Austin Lyric Opera's Magic Flute, November 5, 11 and 13

Found on-line at www.theartoftheconductor.com:

AOL Flute Lacks Magic!

Posted November 8, 2011 at www.theartoftheconductor.comThe Magic Flute Austin Lyric Opera Austin TX

The Magic Flute by Mozart

Austin Lyric Opera directed by James Marvel; Conductor: Richard Buckley
The Long Center, Austin, Texas, November 5, 11 and 13
Review of performance of Saturday November 5

Congratulations are in order for the Austin Lyric Opera on the occasion of its 25th Anniversary. The organization also deserves enormous credit for dealing quickly and apparently effectively with a serious financial crisis that came to a boil last spring. Changes since then have included the resignation of General Director Kevin Patterson, the listing of ALO’s office building for sale, and major program cuts to the 2011-2012 season. Kevin Smith was appointed interim General Director and principal conductor Richard Buckley was given the additional title of Artistic Director.

Mozart’s “The Magic Flutewas the first opera the ALO produced in its inaugural season in 1987. In a program note Kevin Smith declares that the theme of the 25th anniversary is “Let the Magic continue…;” unfortunately, there was little, if any magic in James Marvel’s production of “The Magic Flute.”

Let it be said at the outset that “The Magic Flute” is full of wonderful music, but the libretto is an unruly mishmash of comedy and spirituality. It is a huge challenge for any director to make sense of it all and put it together in a way that is both faithful to Mozart and intelligible for the audience. Come to think of it, there are any number of Shakespeare plays that have a similar challenge.

I don’t know this for a fact, but I would guess that director Marvel had another challenge too: how to mount a production of one of Mozart’s greatest operas with a severely trimmed budget resulting from the ALO’s financial troubles.

Click to read the full review by Paul E. Robinson at www.theartoftheconductor.com . . . .

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