Junior School Makes Magic

Next Thursday, patrons of the arts will be in for a surprise when they peer through their opera glasses and find the McPherson Playhouse stage completely populated by 10-year-olds. But for Duncan Frater, director of the Mozart opera The Magic Flute, it will mean that everything’s rolling out according to plan.

The Junior School’s Grade 5 class (with the help of some talented Grade 4 students) has been working with Mr. Frater for months now on the production, which is an abbreviated English version of the classic opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Although opera is rarely performed by kids today, Mr. Frater notes that until the middle of the last century, operas were routinely modified for and performed by children. Today, the challenge is finding suitable subject matter. “Jealousy, hate, arrogance, and anguish – opera libretti are full of them,” says Mr. Frater. “You have to ask yourself whether an opera can be altered enough to maintain the essence of the story without glorifying the faults of the human race.”

Fortunately, The Magic Flute fits the bill perfectly. “It’s a fairy tale,” says Mr. Frater, “which means it’s easy to adapt for kids and has all kinds of colourful characters they enjoy.” In spite of the challenging material, Mr. Frater notes that the kids are very easy to work with. “They’re still too young to be self-conscious,” he says, “so they don’t panic.”

You can catch The Magic Flute on Thursday, June 5 at 1:00 pm and 7:00 pm at the McPherson Playhouse. Tickets for the matinee are $10 and evening tickets are $12 for students, $15 for adults, and are available at the McPherson Box Office (386-6121).

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