Westmont Magazine Westmont Stages Mozart’s “The Magic Flute”
"The Magic Flute" stars Fritz Mora as Tamino, Michelle Vera as the Queen of the Night, and Jessica Lingua as Pamina
“The Magic Flute” united the creative powers of Westmont’s music and theater arts departments in an exciting new production of Mozart’s comic opera the first week of March at the New Vic Theater. John Blondell, Westmont professor of theater arts, directed the production with Michael Shasberger, Adams professor of music and worship, overseeing the music. Their successful collaborations included “The Pirates of Penzance,” “Dido and Aeneas” and “Die Fledermaus.”
“Few small colleges tackle these productions,” Blondell says. “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, who has such tremendous skill in teaching the material and the musical artistry to develop musical direction for the choral and instrumental works.”
Blondell fell in love with the music while watching Ingmar Bergman’s performance and passed that love onto his children. “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,” he says.
Sold-out crowds exuberantly expressed their appreciation for the production. Charles Donelan, executive arts editor at the Santa Barbara Independent, wrote, “Using the stage at the New Vic as a blank canvas, the team responsible for Westmont’s production of The Magic Flute painted a vivid and memorable moving picture full of delightful details and striking images.” He praised the inventive direction, amazing set, impressive lighting and raucous choreography as well as many excellent performances. He concluded, “The Westmont Theater program, with the invaluable collaboration of maestro Michael Shasberger and his musicians, has discovered a bright new vein of creative inquiry in these opera productions at the New Vic. Here’s hoping this fabulous and fun annual event becomes a tradition.”
For more information on Theatre at Westmont visit westmont.edu/theatre-arts