Westminster Opera Theater Presents Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte

The Magic Flute -- sung in German with English supertitles December 2 & 3
Monday, November 21, 2011

Westminster Opera Theater will present Mozart’s opera Die Zauberflöte, The Magic Flute, on Friday, December 2 and Saturday, December 3 at 8 p.m. in the Princeton Regional Schools Performing Arts Center at Princeton High School.  Admission is $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors.

The performers are students at Westminster Choir College of Rider University. Michael Philip Davis is stage director and William Hobbs is music director.  It will be sung in German with English supertitles, and the dialogue will be in English.

“The plot of Die Zauberflöte is a charming amalgam of low comedy and high ideals,” says Stage Director Davis.  “It’s been called absurd, but is it? A prince (Tamino) and a commoner (Papageno) embark on a perilous journey in search of their perfect mates (Pamina and Papagena). Their quest ultimately becomes the pursuit of virtue, wisdom and harmony, which they attain after undergoing life-threatening trials. Evil is vanquished, and peace and brotherhood reign. Sounds like an excellent idea to me.”

Born in Austin, Texas, William Hobbs received degrees from the University of Colorado at Boulder and the Eastman School of Music.  Mr. Hobbs works at many of the world’s major opera houses, including the Opéra National de Paris, the Salzburg Festival, San Francisco Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, Seattle Opera, Washington Opera and the Opéra de Monte-Carlo as repetiteur and conductor. His repertoire ranges from Handel to the European avant-garde, as well as works by Slavic composers and a number of premieres by American composers such as Lowell Liebermann and John Musto. He has assisted conductors Claudio Abbado, Sir Charles Mackerras, Jiří Bělohlávek, Sir Andrew Davis, James Conlon, and many others. He has worked closely with singers such as Renee Fleming, Susan Graham, Karita Mattila, Lauren Flanigan, Olga Borodina, Frederica von Stade, and Placido Domingo.  Mr. Hobbs has served on the faculty of the Aspen Opera Theater Center of the Aspen Music Festival and CoOPERAtive at Westminster Choir College, and he is on the coaching staff of the Juilliard School of Music.

Mr. Hobbs is the founder and artistic director of Opera Slavica, which made its debut concert at Merkin Concert Hall in New York in the summer of 2009. Opera Slavica is devoted to presenting forgotten masterworks from Russian, Czech and Polish composers and to providing singers with no background in these languages the knowledge and training to sing, read and translate them.

Stage director Michael Philip Davis is making his debut with the Westminster Opera Theater production of Die Zauberflöte. His previous directing credits include Die Zauberflöte and L’Elisir d’Amore  with Connecticut Lyric Opera; Yours, Anne with the New York State Theatre Institute; and the world premiere of Puccini/Coppola’s La Coupe et les Lèvres at Kaye Playhouse in New York. Mr. Davis has also directed La Tragédie de Carmen and Trouble in Tahiti at TodiMusicFest; Kurt Weill in Berlin in Graz, Austria; Weill’s Down in the Valley, Gianni Schicchi, Madama Butterfly and Il Tabarro for the California Opera Association; Madama Butterfly and The Merry Widow for Inspiration Point Fine Arts Center; and The Medium for the Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute.

Mr. Davis conceived, wrote and performed in the video concert DVD Regina Resnik Presents Colors of the Diaspora, a seminal three-part series on Jewish classical song, narrated by the legendary Regina Resnik. He has taught at vocal arts programs in Graz, Austria, and Chiari, Italy, as well as Belmont University, Lawrence University and Williams College’s New York program. He has also written on opera and classical song for Carnegie Hall Playbill, the Met Opera Stagebill, the New York City Opera Playbill and Classical Singer. He also appears as narrator with orchestras, most recently, with the Brooklyn Philharmonic in the Interfaith Concert of Remembrance at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York.

The Princeton Regional Schools Performing Arts Center in Princeton High School is located on Walnut Lane near Franklin Street..  For tickets call 609-921-2663 or go to www.rider.edu/arts.

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Die Zauberflöte cast members take a break from rehearsal