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Opera Carolina Presents The Magic Flute Jan. 19, 24 and 27 at Belk Theater

December 17, 2012

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    December 17, 2012
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    Opera Carolina News

Opera Carolina Presents The Magic Flute Jan. 19, 24 and 27 at Belk Theater

Charlotte, N.C., (Dec. 17, 2012) – Opera Carolina’s new production of Mozart’s beloved opera, The Magic Flute, which performs Jan. 19, 24 and 27, 2013, promises to enchant audiences of all ages. This innovative re-creation of an enduring masterpiece is a vibrant fusion of fantastically colorful staging, captivating music and magnetic star power.

A collaboration with San Francisco Opera and Washington Opera at the Kennedy Center, Opera Carolina’s The Magic Flute features visionary stage and costume design by famed visual artist Jun Kaneko. The Magic Flute’s powerhouse cast features lyric soprano Yunah Lee (Pamina) who returns after last year’s triumphant performance in Opera Carolina's production of Kaneko's much-admired Madama Butterfly, American tenor Shawn Mathey in his signature role, Prince Tamino, and Metropolitan Opera baritone Kyle Pfortmiller as everyone’s favorite bird-man, Papageno. They are joined by Beijing Opera bass-baritone Sun Yu (Sarastro) and the exciting Cuban American soprano Maria Aleida (Queen of the Night).

Kaneko’s designs create a magical landscape for Mozart’s allegorical tale of good and evil, and the human desire for love, wisdom and virtue. Playful, and yet filled with symbolism and ritual, the opera features some of Mozart’s best-loved music. The new production debuted this past summer in San Francisco, earning applause from the San Francisco Chronicle for its “explosively colorful stage design, which combines projected animations with vivid costumes.”

“We are thrilled to bring another stand-out Kaneko production to the Charlotte region,” said James Meena, general director and principal conductor of Opera Carolina.

Entertaining opera audiences for more than two centuries, The Magic Flute follows the journey of the handsome Prince Tamino as he seeks to win the hand of the beautiful Pamina by earning wisdom and knowledge in the Temple of the priest Sarastro. Armed with his Magic Flute, Tamino and his traveling companion Papageno endure trials of truth and wisdom as they search for true and lasting love.

The Magic Flute performs on January 19, 24 and 27 at the Belk Theater, Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. A 25 percent discount is available for season ticket holders, a 50 percent Youth Discount, plus $10 Student Rush tickets and various Group Discounts. For single ticket information, call 704.372.1000 or visit www.operacarolina.org

The 2012-2013 Season is underwritten by a generous sponsorship from Wells Fargo Private Bank. The performance presenting sponsor for The Magic Flute is Time Warner Cable. Opera Carolina’s production of The Magic Flute is directed by Garrett Bruce and conducted by James Meena, general director and principal conductor of Opera Carolina. The Magic Flute will be performed in English.

About the Cast

Note to editors: For photography and complete cast biographies, please visit: operacarolina.org/press.

Powerhouse lyric soprano Yunah Lee, best known for her signature leading role in Madama Butterfly, is thrilling audiences in the U.S., Europe and Asia with her “handsomely colored full lyric sound” (Opera News) and “picture perfect” acting (Berkshire Fine Arts). Hailed as one of today’s leading operatic heroines, she also enjoys a celebrated concert career with recent performances that include Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music with the Syracuse Symphony, Verdi’s Requiem in Dallas, and a Puccini concert with the Washington Chorus.

American tenor Shawn Mathey recently debuted with the San Francisco Opera, the Dallas Opera and the English National Opera as Prince Tamino. Enjoying a distinguished career singing lead lyric tenor roles all over the world, he has graced the stages of the Paris Opera and London’s Covent Garden, as well as major U.S. companies such as Chicago’s Lyric Opera and the Washington National Opera. Last season, Mathey made his debut with the Lyric Opera of Chicago in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Of that performance, Chicago Classical Review noted: "Shawn Mathey made an impressive Lyric debut as Lysander, displaying a honeyed tenor and proving both ardent and amusing in his sudden post-potion infatuation.”

Metropolitan Opera baritone Kyle Pfortmiller has won acclaim across the U.S., and also in Europe with a repertoire that includes the title roles in Don Giovanni and Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Of the latter role, Opera Online noted: “Pfortmiller’s voice packs a wallop and, coupled with a strong and darkly handsome stage presence that sets this singer apart whenever he is on stage.” Of his New York City Opera performance in Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte, New York Newsday wrote, “Vocal honors go to baritone Kyle Pfortmiller … who has a dark, buttery sound and a personality that pops off the stage.”

A native of Shangai, bass-baritone Sun Yu, is an award-winning singer who has performed lead operatic roles on many of the world’s top stages. Trained at the China Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, Yu is the first-prize winner of the 2001 Liederkranz Foundation’s Wagnerian Voice Competition. His performance as Chou Hu in the U.S. premiere of Jing Shan’s Savage Land was highly praised by the Washington Post’s Joseph McLellan as “Sun Yu’s charisma, polished powerful voice and versatility as both a dramatic and comedic performer.” Also in another article, “Star Turns from China,” concerning Yu’s performance as the title role in Verdi’s Attila, the same critic wrote: “Sunday night, he sounded like a potential Boris Christoff. There is no higher compliment in my vocabulary for a bass-baritone.” Yu has also performed in five operas at the Washington National Opera under the direction of Placido Domingo.

Cuban soprano Maria Aleida began her musical studies at the Vicente Emilio Sojo Conservatory in Venezuela. Prize winner at the Montserrat Caballe international voice competition in Zaragoza (2008), the Mario Lanza Institute in Philadelphia (2009), and the Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation in New York (2010), she was a Finalist at the New England Region in Boston, and at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2011. She is a resident artist at The Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia where she has sung roles as Nanetta in Verdi’s Falstaff and Musetta in La bohème.

About Opera Carolina

Opera Carolina’s 2012-2013 season concludes with a revival of Opera Carolina’s acclaimed 2005 production of Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers on April 13, 18 & 21, 2013.

Founded in 1948 as the Charlotte Opera Association by a small group of volunteers, Opera Carolina today is the largest professional opera company in the Carolinas with an operating budget of over $2.8 million. The mission of Opera Carolina is to inspire the region’s diverse community through the presentation of excellent Opera, Operetta, and Education & Outreach programs that elevate the quality of life in the Carolinas. Opera Carolina is a community resource with a commitment to artistic excellence and community service.

Opera Carolina is supported by the Arts & Science Council-Charlotte/Mecklenburg, Inc. and the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency funded by the state of North Carolina. Opera Carolina is a member of OPERA America.