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Music, art converge in The Magic Flute

Western’s Music and Art departments collaborated on Mozart’s opera, “The Magic Flute”, showing Nov. 1-3 in Potter Hall Theater.

Students and faculty from the Western Opera Theater and Digital Animation programs joined their skills to produce Western’s third collaborative opera.

Dr. Susan Carter, assistant dean of The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is directing the opera.

“My favorite part is the collaboration, and it’s a beautiful collaboration because we’ve worked with Art now three years in a row,” Carter said.   “This is a whole new level of professionalism.”

“This is the hardest opera in the world,” Carter said.  “We’ve got the talent here, which is why I can do ‘The Magic Flute’.”

Four of the ten main cast members were top finalists in the National Association of Teachers Singing regional competition.

Donovan Jones plays the prince, Tamino;  Adrienne Collins plays the princess, Pamina; Sarah Waters plays the Queen of the Night.

Carter double cast this role also, with Lory Lacy, a faculty member who teaches flute.

“I love the double casting because students get to work with a more mature voice, a more mature thinker,” Carter said.

Carter also double cast Dr. Jon Rhoad, Professor of Chemistry, and Ian Fast as Sarastro.

“The music is amazing and it’s gonna be sung like no one’s business,” Carter said.  “The animation is gonna be crazy good, and the orchestra is gonna be beautiful.”

The collaborative planning started in January 2013.  Dr. Pete Hriso, Department of Art Chair, recruited digital animation major students in the spring.  The team included Justin Rhodes, Truman Vasko, Danny Janovec and Matt White.

“They got to sink their teeth into a real life project,” Hriso said.  “It was similar to working in the real world, outside of academia.”

Hriso said his favorite part of the project was working with the students.

“As an instructor, it’s great to see students that you’ve helped along really come about and put everything together,” Hriso said.

“It’s more involved this year than it was last year,” Hriso said.  “It’s grown in depth.”

Hriso said he was excited to work with the music department and see everybody pull together.

The digital animation was developed as supportive material for the opera.  It put scenes into context.

“As an animator, it’s exciting to work on these different types of environments that are required for this opera,” Hriso said.  “It’s a different challenge that we might not have in other areas.”

Animations will be projected onto a new 18 feet by 40 feet screen and super titles onto a black curtain above the screen.

Jeff Stover, Assistant Professor and Technical Director, said execution of digital content and lighting can be tricky.

“It’s easy for stage light to overpower the projection and wash it out,” Stover said.  “So, lighting and projection have to cooperate and find a happy balance.”

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