Monday, April 19, 2010

Magic Flute

Saturday night I went to my first opera. Butler University (yes, THAT Butler) was performing Mozart's The Magic Flute. Lynn's niece was the Queen of the Night, so we went.

As Lynn told one of her sons, you need to see at least one opera in your life. This one is in English, it's pretty funny, and it has someone in it that you know. This is the one to attend.

The Opera Center is in an old church, and the performance was in the sanctuary. Unfortunately, the stage isn't raised very high, so anytime a character was seated (or had fainted, which happened quite a lot) I lost sight of him/her. They use the original old wooden pews, and they, my friends, are hard.

The character Edward in Pretty Woman, a repository for all knowledge, says, "People's reactions to opera the first time they see it is very dramatic; they either love it or they hate it. If they love it, they will always love it. If they don't, they may learn to appreciate it, but it will never become part of their soul."

Opera will never become part of my soul.

I didn't hate it, but I certainly didn't love it.
  • The Queen of the Night has some personality dysfunction. In the first act, she's singing about how devastated she is about her daughter's kidnapping. In the second act, she's telling her daughter to shiv someone or else she's disowned. Those are her only two appearances.*
  • Tamino falls in love with Pamina after seeing her picture. This has been the downfall of many a person on online dating sites.
  • Even worse, Pamina falls in love with Tamino after hearing that he loves her. She's never met him. She's never seen his photo. She knows nothing about him. She only loves him because he loves her. Ridiculous, self-centered, and doomed to fail.
  • Pamina is devastated because Tamino won't talk to her. Instead of trying to find out his reasoning, she immediately goes to kill herself. Juliet, is that you?
  • I'm very confused about how this opera portrays women. On one hand, Tamino and Papageno enter a vow of silence from women. They can talk to one another and to other men, just not to women. After all, women are deceivers. On the other hand, Pamina ends up leading Tamino through his final trials.
  • The monstrous serpent looked surprisingly like a dragon from a Chinese New Year's parade.
Despite my problems with the plot and props, the actors were very impressive. I found myself wanting to know what these students will be doing ten years from now. Some of them will have careers as performers, I'm sure.

I'm just not sure I'm going to go watch them in an opera.

*To be fair, we were watching a 2 hour version. The full version is 3 hours. Who knows what all was cut out.


  1. I'm glad you didn't hate it. And truthfully, it's hard to love anything when sitting on extra-hard benches for 2 hours.

    I'm glad you went, though. It was a "growth experience", yes?

  2. My experiences with opera have been very mixed. The first opera I ever saw was a production of The Coronation of Poppea in English at DePauw. I LOVED it. Seriously would have watched it several more times if I could have. Then I saw a production of La Boheme in Italian, and I liked it. Next it was a new work in English performed in Edinburgh for the festival, and I HATED it. I seriously couldn't stand watching it and had to walk out after the first act - something I never do. So a mixed bag, me and opera. Maybe you'd enjoy a different performance (in a more comfortable seat) better?