ISU Theatre’s ‘The Magic Flute’ to begin Thursday

ISU Theatre will perform “The Magic Flute” through Thursday to Sunday.

Tianxin Wen

ISU Theatre, in cooperation with ISU Music, will perform the story of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” the third most frequently performed opera in the world.

The opera will show at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Fisher Theater.

Tickets are available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Iowa State Center Ticket Office and also via Ticketmaster. Tickets are also available at the door before performances. Prices are $14 for students, $19 for seniors and $21 for adults. 

Simon Estes, an internationally renowned operatic bass-baritone, will give a lecture about his experience singing the role of Sarastro in the world’s great opera houses Saturday. Everyone who has tickets for “The Magic Flute” can listen to this lecture for free at 6:30 p.m. in the Scheman Building, rooms 175-179. A reception will begin at 6 p.m. 

Set in the 1700s, a handsome prince, Tamino, is sent by the Queen of the Night to rescue her beautiful daughter Pamina from the clutches of the supposedly evil Sarastro.

But all is not as it seems in this unique opera, of which several adaptations have been made.

“We are highlighting the fairytale in the production and the ways in which mythological adventures reflect the human experience,” said Leslie Bennett, director of “The Magic Flute.” “We have tried to eliminate racist and misogynistic elements [of the play] in so far as we are able.”

The opera will be entirely in English, which is different from the original, German version.

Bennett said a number of challenges exist throughout the opera such as the sheer size of the production, all the moving parts and the music.

“There are technical challenges that often begin with the prince being pursued by a dragon or a monster,” Bennett said. “There are characters in the story who, when they first appear, we believe [they] represent goodness and we find out over the course of the opera that people are much more complex, and relationships are much more complex than they may first appear to be.”

Jodi Goble, music director of “The Magic Flute,” said some of the music in the show is extremely challenging. Goble said the singing vocal range in this opera ranges from a high F to low F.

“Some of the roles are very demanding, especially for young singers,” Goble said. “It is very rare to find that big of range in one opera.”

“When you put words to music they say more than the words would on their own. They are more powerful and they touch you more deeply. Music can bypass your brain and go directly into your soul.”

Goble also recommends people see the opera live.

“It is a wonderful piece of music,” Goble said. “Whenever you have the opportunity to see opera live, especially performed by people you might know, or people in your own age, it is a very powerful thing. It’s very different to hear opera on a recording.”

For more information about “The Magic Flute” and for ticket prices, visit ISU Theatre’s website.