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Festival will celebrate Mozart in opera and symphony

An enhanced revival of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera "The Magic Flute" will be presented by the Lakes Area Music Festival at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, and at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Andrew Altenbach conducts a Lakes Area Music Festival concert.
Andrew Altenbach conducts a Lakes Area Music Festival concert. Altenbach has conducted LAMF concerts since 2013 and will again this coming weekend. Submitted Photo
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An enhanced revival of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera "The Magic Flute" will be presented by the Lakes Area Music Festival at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, and at 2 p.m. Sunday.

The following Wednesday, Aug. 22, concert will be at 7 p.m. with Mozart's music once again celebrated in a concert that includes his "Great G Minor Symphony."

Both the opera and the concert will be performed at Tornstrom Auditorium in Brainerd, and are free of charge.

According to festival's associate artistic director John Taylor Ward, "'The Magic Flute' was our

first opera produced at LAMF. It also turned out to be the first opera seen by many in our audience. The blend of family friendly comedy, beautiful music, and touching drama make this

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production an engaging and immersive experience for everyone from the opera aficionado to

the operatic first timer."

The operas have become among the most popular of the festival's performances. Ward will sing the role of Papageno, a bird catcher searching for his own true love.

Ward recalled the first time the opera was performed in 2012, there was a budget of only $400 for everything beyond the musicians' compensation, and most of that was spent for music stand lights so the musicians could see what they were playing. This time, the staging will

be much more elaborate, the news release stated.

The opera will be sung in German with English supertitles, and the spoken dialogue will be in

English.

Organizers stated: "'The Magic Flute" tells the story of the initiation into a benign secret society of young Tamino and the woman he loves, Pamina. As they go through the ordeals of initiation, they are joined-sort of-by Papageno, who has trouble taking anything seriously. At every turn, the malevolent Queen of the Night attempts to thwart them. The queen sings one of the most famous and difficult arias in all of opera."

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One-half hour prior to each performance, the opera's director J.J. Hudson and conductor

Andrew Altenbach will be interviewed on stage by Minnesota Public Radio's Steve Staruch.

One of the last symphonies Mozart wrote during his short life will be a highlight of Wednesday's

performance. According to Andrew Altenbach, who will conduct the concert, "Mozart's

passionate G minor symphony has a history shrouded in mystery, but it stoked the hearts and

imaginations of Beethoven, Schubert, Liszt and Schumann. The masterpiece still rivets us

today. This turbulent music vacillates between chaos and order and gives us a lens to what

Mozart's even-greater potential might have been as a composer, had his life not been tragically

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cut short."

Maurice Ravel's elegant and jazzy "Concerto in G-major" will also be on the program. Ravel

wrote the piece after an American tour in 1928, during which he went with George Gershwin to

listen to jazz in Harlem. Henry Kramer, who will be the piano soloist in the concerto, provided

The following description: "Ravel weaves witty jazz-inspired writing with incredibly touching lyrical passages. The inner movement is perhaps one of the most beautiful of any piano concerto. ... This concerto also has an incredible orchestration and highlights Ravel's singular sensitivity to timbral effects."

The program will open with Gioachino Rossini's rollicking overture to "Cenerentola" (Cinderella).

According to a "Song of the Lark" blog written by Emily Hogstad in her program notes she stated, "The overture contains many of Rossini's trademarks: "melodies featuring swift turns, scurrying scales, infectious galloping rhythms, and a finale that crescendos into a whirl of stylish triumph."

Altenbach will give a pre-concert lecture about the music at 6:30 p.m.

For more information visit www.lakesareamusic.org .

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