The Magic Flute

It’s a trifle sad when the most praise a critic can muster after seeing a performance of Mozart’s sublime masterpiece, The Magic Flute, is for the sets and costumes

BY Charlie Richards

January 16 2009 1:00 AM ET

 LA OPERA MAGIC FLUTE FEATHER X390 (PUBLICITY) | ADVOCATE.COM

Greg
Fedderly’s Monostatos was suitably sung, and his
interpretation adequate in its comic repulsiveness,
aided by his grotesque makeup and costuming. And
Amanda Squitieri was a charmingly perky Papagena, though,
once again, not a particularly memorable one.

The Three Ladies
were played mostly for laughs, as they usually are, and
pleasantly sung to boo, by Tamara Wilson, Lauren McNeese,
and Beth Clayton. In particular, Clayton’s
hilarious characterization of the Third Lady was a bit
of a show in itself and very fun to watch, if occasionally
over-the-top in its campiness. She has the makings of a fine
comic actress -- one would like to see her as Rosina
in Il Barbiere or Isabella in
l’Italiana -- perhaps we shall someday.

Unfortunately,
the lack of sparkle in the musical performance had much to
do with James Conlon’s conducting. I am a great
admirer of Maestro Conlon and have sung his praises
many a time, but tonight he fell rather short. His
conducting was staid and a bit stodgy, and most of the
score’s golden moments seemed to elude him.
Conlon excels in Wagner, Puccini, Verdi and in most
late romantic repertoire, but Mozart does not seem to be his
forte.

Happily, the
second act finale, one of the greatest miracles in all
Western music, was brought off well, and the
Papageno-Papagena duet had its proper effect. However,
when all was said and done, this was a performance
that was visually stunning but musically uninspired.

Tags: Theater

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