Thursday 8 December 2016

Reviving opera and reliving the magic of Mozart's lyrical love story

Published 20/11/2011 | 06:00

The Magic Flute was the first opera I ever saw on stage. I think I was about nine years old and my dad was directing a College of Music production. I had a big part to play, as President Patrick Hillery and his wife were attending and I was asked to present flowers to Mrs Hillery on their arrival.

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I wore a blue velvet dress and had a ribbon in my hair and carried the task off beautifully, if I do say so myself.

If you ever wonder how the "small chat" goes on these occasions, President Hillery smiled at me and asked where I had learnt to curtsey so beautifully.

Job well done, I sat on a high stool and even at such a young age was very taken with the spectacle and wasn't scared off by the music. Mozart's most popular opera is for all ages and for opera aficionados and newcomers alike.

Enchanting and evocative, Mozart's final operatic masterpiece is a lyrical love story, set against an atmospheric backdrop of fantasy and mischief. The Queen of the Night is determined to use her only daughter, Pamina, as a pawn in the continuing war with her estranged husband, Sarastro. She recruits Tamino, a prince, and Papageno, a bird-catcher, to steal her daughter away from her father.

Will Tamino survive his dangerous quest? Will Papageno find the woman of his dreams?

Well, we have a new president in the Áras and a new production of Mozart's The Magic Flute to look forward to this month.

Sung in English and directed by Annilese Miskimmon, Opera Theatre Company will begin a nationwide tour of The Magic Flute on November 25 in The Lir in TCD with an impressive cast including Owen Gilhooly, Emma Morwood and Mary O'Sullivan.

The tour will continue through to February 2012, ending in Carlow.

Wexford Opera Festival presented opera of a very high standard last month but sadly the opera scene in Ireland is in a sorry state.

The new Irish National Opera Company collapsed without a single production. Opera Ireland ceased operating at the end of last year.

The fact that Opera Theatre Company is a touring company is very important, and right now supporting Irish opera and Irish singers is crucial.

Aedín Gormley presents Movies and Musicals on Saturday (2-4pm) and Sunday Matinee on Sundays at noon on RTÉ lyric fm

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