The Carmel Bach Festival presented Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” in a concert version Tuesday night at Sunset Center. This production benefitted greatly from the splendid artistic efforts of Paul Goodwin (Conductor of the Festival Orchestra), Andrew Megill, (Associate Conductor and Director of the Chorale) and John Koza (Assistant Conductor of the Chorale and Chorus and Director of the Youth Chorus). Right from the first notes of the Overture, we knew our evening was going to be magical journey.
Quickly establishing that he is totally comfortable in the world of opera, Goodwin managed to constantly adjust the balances between orchestra and soloists while displaying a fine skill in listening to the many soloists and adroitly following their tempo changes as well.
There were many musical highlights of the evening. Particularly notable were all the ensembles – “The Three Ladies,” the “Three Child Spirits,” the chorus and many ensembles with soloists. The contrasts between the ensembles and soloists heightened the musical entertainment, and the ensembles of “The Three Ladies” and “Three Child Spirits” were beautifully balanced and seamless. In addition to the outstanding choral work, David Gordon’s witty narration glued the concert version together making the transition from a staged production an easy and natural process.
Soprano Clara Rottsolk was amazing with her elegant rich voice and her complete command of dynamics in her upper and lower ranges. Since her vocal technique was so secure and natural, she was able to portray her role of Pamina with the greatest of ease. Thomas Cooley as Tamino demonstrated how effortlessly he was able to move from the Saint John Passion into the legato and passionate singing of Mozart, and Dashton Burton as Sarastro charmed us with his rich legato singing rolling into our ears, although. the Festival Orchestra unfortunately covered some of his low register. Peter Harvey as Papageno was delightful to hear and watch from start to finish. The concert version allowed us to enjoy his acting, and his well-developed character charmed us the entire evening. Hailey Fuqua in her amazing role as The Queen of the Night portrayed her character with forceful vitality.
If you have not seen a concert version of Magic Flute, this is the version to see. The wonderful orchestral playing is in full display to shape Mozart’s operatic and masterpiece. This is a guaranteed delightful musical evening!