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University of Iowa News Release

Jan. 25, 2006

Royal Winnipeg Ballet Performs Mozart's 'Magic Flute' In Hancher

Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet will perform its full-length dance production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "The Magic Flute" at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, in the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium.

The audience will be invited to stay after the performance to join in the international celebration of Mozart's 250th birthday with a gala party in the lobby.

The dance was created by American-born choreographer Mark Godden, whose "Dracula" production for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet won worldwide acclaim, as well as an International Emmy Award, in its film version.

Godden and his creative team used Mozart's beloved music to concoct a magical ballet spectacle -- part classical ballet and part Monty Python -- designed to appeal to all ages. As the London Free Press would have it, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's rendition of "The Magic Flute" is "a work as classical as a pas de deux and as modern as the search for the missing TV remote."

A review in Toronto's Globe and Mail explained: "Taking on Mozart's penultimate opera is a brazen act of chutzpah. Behind its farcical fairytale veneer lies a mystical quest for ultimate truth imbued with Masonic symbolism and Age of Enlightenment rationalism. In visually translating this complex philosophical treatise into dance, Godden and his imaginative designer Paul Daigle have chosen well-defined props and whimsical costumes set in a stage that is a virtual black box.

"With Montreal wizard Pierre Lavoie on board to create a magical kingdom of light, the basic elements of librettist Emanuel Schikaneder's plot, despite Godden's contemporary twist, remain intact. The sublime music (using Sir Neville Marriner's recording) has been pared down to great effect, augmented by Jean-Pierre Cote's atmospheric soundscape."

Founded in 1939 by Gweneth Lloyd and Betty Farrally, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet holds the distinction of being the longest continuously operating ballet company in North America. In 1953, the company received its royal charter, the first granted under the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. In 1958, Arnold Spohr was appointed artistic director. Under his direction the company grew and developed to take its place among the world's internationally renowned companies.

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet began to tour Canada in 1945; it completed its first American tour in 1954. Today, the company spends 20 or more weeks a year on the road, performing in venues throughout the globe to great acclaim -- including 16 towns and cities in Iowa. It is one of the prominent companies that has performed "Sentinel," created for the UI Dance Gala by the late David Berkey while he was a faculty member of the UI Dance Department.

Mark Godden, born in Texas, was a star in the Royal Winnipeg Ballet for several years before he was appointed resident choreographer in 1990. Lewis Segal of the Los Angeles Times described him as "clearly fearless, in a hurry, and very, very, talented."

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet performance in Hancher is supported by Mark and Leslie Nolte, Nolte Academy of Dance and University of Iowa Community Credit Union through the University of Iowa Foundation.

Tickets are $40/37/34; UI student $36/15; senior citizen $36/33.30/30.60; youth $28/25.90/23.80.

Hancher Auditorium box office business hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial 319-335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial 319-335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Tickets may be ordered on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Hancher's website:

Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction. Information and brochures may be requested by e-mail:

The Dance Department is a unit in the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail,

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073,

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