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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 30, 2007

UI Opera Workshop offers essentials of 'The Magic Flute' Dec. 14 and 15

The Opera Workshop at the University of Iowa School of Music will present an "essentials" performance of Mozart's "Die Zauberflöte" ("The Magic Flute") at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 14 and 15, in the Opera Room, Room 132 of the UI Voxman Music Building.

The performances will be free and open to the public but will require tickets for admission to the 100-seat theater. To reserve tickets, contact Stephen Swanson, interim director of opera at the School of Music, at or 319-335-1671.

Swanson is the production's stage director. Musical direction is by Shari Rhoads, UI Opera Theater coach-accompanist. Piano accompaniment for the performances will be provided by Marian Lee.

Swanson said that an "essentials" production is a teaching tool that gives all levels of students the opportunity to concentrate on character development and learn an entire opera role. "We will present Mozart's 'Die Zauberflöte' sung in German, with the dialogue spoken in English," he explained.

"The performance, accompanied by piano, will be fully staged, although the sets will be indicated using benches to delineate the division of spaces. The properties that are 'essential' to the performance will be used, as will costumes that are actually necessary for the drama -- thus the name 'essentials performance.' Otherwise the students in the cast will perform in black clothing."

One of the most popular works in the operatic repertoire, "The Magic Flute" has been a hit from its very first performance in Vienna in 1791. As one of Mozart's last compositions -- completed only weeks before his death on Dec. 5, 1791 -- it has become part of the Mozart mythology. A scene in the popular film "Amadeus" that showed Mozart on his death bed imagining the opera while it was being performed in the theater is based on historical accounts.

The complicated plot revolves around magical musical instruments -- a popular theme in Viennese theater of the time -- an evil queen, a mystical temple and a rescue drama involving Prince Tamino and his sidekick, the bird-catcher Papageno. As the opera ends, Tamino and the queen's daughter Pamina overcome trials by fire and water to be initiated into the temple, and Papageno is happily paired with his female counterpart, Papagena.

The cast of students includes Quiliano Anderson and Robby Kemp performing as Prince Tamino; Martin Barkley as Papageno; Alison Holmes as the Queen of the Night; Lynn Maxfield as Monostatos; Kelsey Williams as Pamina; Paul Morel and Ivo Suarez as Sarastro; and Lauren Baker and Lexi Schiano as Papagena.

Swanson joined the faculty of the UI School of Music in 1994 after an extensive European operatic career that encompassed 91 roles in opera, operetta and musicals. He has sung on German, Austrian and Dutch radio broadcasts and has been a featured soloist in numerous European festivals. For more information, see

Rhoads joined the UI School of Music faculty as opera coach in the fall of 2000. Before arriving at the UI she taught Lieder and interpretation at the Music Conservatory in Lucerne and the Conservatory of Lausanne in Switzerland. She was Kapellmeister at the Lucerne Theater and served as conductor and coach at the opera theater in Darmstadt, Germany, the Gran Teatro del Liceo in Barcelona, Spain, and the Teatro de las Zarzuela in Madrid. For more information, see

Lee has appeared as recitalist, soloist with orchestra, and chamber musician in Western Europe, the former Soviet Union, South America and Asia, as well as in major cities throughout the United States. For more information, see

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to, click the link "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" and follow the instructions.

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072 (office), 319-541-2846 (cell),