Fully Staged co-production with the Connecticut Lyric Opera
Fri. 11/12/2010, 8 p.m. – Trinity-On-Main Arts Center, New Britain
Sat. 11/13/2010, 7:30 p.m. – MHS Arts Center, Middletown
Sat. 11/20/2010, 8 p.m. – Waterbury Palace, Waterbury
Fri. 12/03/2010, 7:30 p.m. – Garde Arts Center, New London

Staged by Michael Philip Davis
Conducted by Adrian Sylveen

video clips from the production >>>

Tamino – Michael Wade Lee
Pamina – Jurate Svedaite
Sarastro -Laurentiu Rotaru
Papageno – Mathew Gamble
Papagena – Elisabeth Kinder
Queen of the Night – Liane Grasso
Monastatos – Daniel Juarez
1st Lady – Eden Casteel
2nd Lady – Jennifer Marshall
3rd Lady – Brooke Larimer
Speaker/2nd Priest – Gregory Sheppard
1st Priest – Alexis Benson
1st Spirit – Adrianne Bitting
2nd Spirit – Laura Koroski
3rd Spirit – Harrison Gatch
1st Armored Man – Fred Goff
2nd Armored Man – Hartley Horn

Creative Team:
Set design – Peter Strand & Adrian Sylveen
Costumes – Rwanda Strand, Shawn Gatch & Adrian Sylveen
Lighting Designer – Jim Nason
Projections Design – Michael Philip Davis & John Waller
Accompanist & Super titles – Nathaniel Baker
Super titles Preparation & Program – John Waller
Stage Hands Peter Strand, Garry Thompson
Prop Master – Sharon Davis & Shawn Gatch
Prop Crew – Laura Koroski, Shawn Gatch

CLO Chorus:
Choir Master – Pawel Jura
Sopranos: Rhonda Strand, Lizabeth Kinder, Laura Koroski, Cecile Thompson, Sharon A. Davis, Shawn Palmer, Mariam Tabatadze, Micheley Angelina, Altos: Amy Rozek, Kristine Pion, Kathy Aberg, Nora Soruco, Tenors: Fredrick Goff, John Deredita, Philip Pacelli, Basses: Ryley Alger-Hempstead, Gary Thompson, Julian Gordon, Ryan Foley, Hartley Horn, Peter Strand

Short Synopsis:

ACT I: Three Ladies attendant on the Queen of the Night save the fainting Prince Tamino from a serpent. When they leave to tell the Queen, the birdcatcher Papageno bounces in and boasts to Tamino that it was he who slew the serpent. The Ladies return to give Tamino a portrait of the Queen’s daughter, Pamina, who they say is enslaved by the evil Sarastro, and they padlock Papageno’s mouth for lying. The Queen, appearing in a burst of thunder, laments the loss of her daughter; she charges Tamino with Pamina’s rescue. The Ladies hand a magic flute to Tamino and magic silver bells to Papageno to ensure their safety, appointing Three Genii to guide them. Sarastro’s Moorish slave Monostatos pursues Pamina but is frightened away by the feather-covered Papageno, who tells Pamina that Tamino loves her and intends to save her. Led to the Temple of Sarastro, Tamino is advised by a High Priest that it is the Queen, not Sarastro, who is evil. Hearing that Pamina is safe, Tamino charms the animals with his flute, then rushes to follow the sound of Papageno’s pipes. Monostatos and his retainers chase Papageno and Pamina but are rendered helpless by Papageno’s magic bells. Sarastro, entering in ceremony, promises Pamina eventual freedom and punishes Monostatos. Pamina is enchanted by a glimpse of Tamino, who is led into the temple with Papageno.

ACT II: Sarastro tells his priests that Tamino will undergo initiation rites. Sworn to silence, Tamino is impervious to the temptations of the Queen’s Ladies, who have no trouble derailing the cheerful Papageno from his course of virtue. The Queen of the Night dismisses Monostatos, whom she finds kissing the sleeping Pamina, and gives her daughter a dagger with which to murder Sarastro. The weeping Pamina is confronted and consoled by Sarastro. The gourmand Papageno is just as quick to break a new oath of fasting, and he jokes with a flirtatious old lady, who vanishes when asked her name. Tamino remains steadfast, breaking Pamina’s heart: she cannot understand his silence. The priests inform Tamino that he has only two more trials to complete his initiation. Papageno is eliminated but settles for the old lady, who turns into a young Papagena when the resigned Papageno promises to be faithful. She disappears, however. After the Genii save the despairing Pamina from suicide, she finds Tamino and walks with him through the ordeals by water and fire, protected by the magic flute. Papageno also is saved from attempted suicide by the Genii, who remind him to use his magic bells, which summon Papagena. The two plan for the future and move into a bird’s nest. The Queen of the Night, her Three Ladies and Monostatos attack the temple but are defeated and banished. Sarastro joins Pamina and Tamino as the throng hails Isis and Osiris, the triumph of courage, virtue and wisdom.

Cast Bios:

Director Michael Philip Davis is delighted to return to Connecticut Lyric Opera after staging  L’Elisir d’Amore in 2009. Other directing credits include: Yours, Anne (New York State Theatre Institute); Puccini/ Coppola’s La Coupe et les Lèvres (World Premiere; Kaye Playhouse, New York), The Tragedy of Carmen and Trouble in Tahiti (TodiMusicFest); Kurt Weill in Berlin (Graz, Austria); Bach’s Coffee Cantata, Weill’s Down in the Valley, Gianni Schicchi, Madama Butterfly and Il Tabarro (California Opera Association); Madama Butterfly and The Merry Widow (Inspiration Point Fine Arts Center); and The Medium (Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute).  As a leading tenor, Mr. Davis appeared in the title role of The Student Prince (New York City Opera); Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly (New York City Opera National Company, Central City); Tamino in The Magic Flute (Cologne); Romeo (Houston), Alfredo (Central City, Utah Festival Opera), Faust (Kansas City), the title role in The Rake’s Progress (Blossom Music Festival), Hoffmann (Vienna Kammeroper), the Steersman in Der Fliegende Holländer (Marseille), Marius in Fanny (Utah Festival Opera) and Pasqualino in the world premiere of Anton Coppola’s Sacco & Vanzetti (Tampa Bay Opera), among many others. Mr. Davis has served as both tenor soloist and author/dramaturg of the concert series Regina Resnik Presents, broadcast on City University of New York (CUNY TV). He wrote, co-produced and appeared in the video concert series Regina Resnik Presents Colors of the Diaspora, soon to be released by Video Artists International.

Chorus Master – Pawel Jura

Chorus Master Pawel Jura has worked with choral groups in New England as well as participatied in many musical capacities with a wide variety of plays, musicals and operas. He also maintains an active concert schedule as a pianist and organist. Mr. Jura has studied at the Hartt School and at the Juilliard School, with degrees in piano, composition, and music theory. In addition, he has extensively studied organ and choral directing. He is currently Chorus Master of the New Britain Chorale and Music Director of the Unitarian Universalist Society East, in Manchester, CT.

Tamino – Michael Wade Lee

Critics hail American tenor, Michael Wade Lee, as “that rarity among operatic tenors, a really good-looking, virile, well-built and gifted thespian with a wide-ranging voice to match.” He made his international debut in 2007 to great acclaim with the Greek National Opera, singing Don José Carmen with Denyce Graves. He has since performed with Staatstheater Mainz (Germany), San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera Productions (Ireland), San Antonio Opera, New York City Opera, Glyndebourne Opera Festival (UK), Opera Theatre of St Louis, Musica Viva (Hong Kong), Chautauqua Opera, El Paso Opera, Connecticut Lyric Opera, Raylynmor Opera, Opera in the Heights, Dicapo Opera, Chelsea Opera, and others. His many roles include B F Pinkerton Madama Butterfly, Duke Rigoletto, Rodolfo La Bohème, Don José Carmen, Cavaradossi Tosca, Turiddu Cavalleria Rusticana, Nemorino L’elisir D’amore, The Prince Rusalka, Tamino Die Zauberflӧte, the Male Chorus The Rape Of Lucretia, Grivet Thérèse Raquin, and Froh Das Rheingold.
Pamina – Jurate Waller

Possesssing a vocal artistry and stage presence capable of transfixing audiences with “moments of opera magic,” Lithuanian soprano, Jūratė Švedaitė, has performed throughout Europe and the United States with the Lithuanian National Chamber Orchestra, the European Baroque Festival Opera, Connecticut Lyric Opera, Kaunas Chamber Orchestra, Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, the Lithuanian National Ensemble “Lietuva,” and Mystic River Chorale, among others.  Her previous roles include Violetta in La Traviata, Mimi in La Bohème, Contessa in Le Nozze di Figaro, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Tatyana in Eugene Onegin, Nedda in Pagliacci, Micaela in Carmen and the title role in Floyd’s Susanhah. An active perfomer of sacred works and oratorios as well, her credits include Monteverdi’s and Vivaldi’s Magnificats; Bach’s Mass in B minor, Christmas Oratorio and numerous sacred cantatas; Mozart’s Requiem, Exsultate Jubilate, Solemn Vespers and Missa Brevis; Pergolessi’s Stabat Mater, Brahm’s Ein Deutsches Requiem and Faure’s Requiem. Ms. Švedaitė attended the Lithuanian Music Academy where she earned Bachelors and Masters and Degrees in Opera Performance and Vocal Instruction. She now resides in SE Connecticut where she is on the faculty of Connecticut College and Thames Valley Music School.

Sarastro – Laurentiu Rotaru

Bass-baritone,Laurentiu Rotaru is a native of Romania currently residing in Connecticut. He performed with The National Opera of Bucharest and as a soloist in numerous ensembles in Bucharest, touring Romania, Greece, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Canada and The United States. In October 2004 Mr. Rotaru made his Carnegie Hall debut, performing in a concert with Connecticut Lyric Opera. Other venues where he performed include Opera Theater of Connecticut, Mississippi Opera, Valley Lyric Opera in Pennsylvania, St. Bonaventure Quick Center for The Arts in New York, Raleigh Opera of North Carolina, Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, Boston Festival Orchestra, Shreveport Opera of Louisiana, etc.  His operatic repertoire encompasses roles such as Leporello in Don Giovanni, Don Basilio and Dr Bartolo in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Méphistophélès in Faust, Sparafucile in Rigoletto,  Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore, Frère Laurent in Romeo et Juliettte, Gremin in Eugene Onegin and Geronte in Manon Lescaut.  He started his intensive music training at The Conservatory of Bucharest – Romania and in USA earned a Bachelor Degree in Music Performance from Central Connecticut State University, and a Master of Music degree from University of Connecticut. He won numerous competitions such as NATS and The Connecticut Guild Opera Competition, Metropolitan Opera Guild – New England Region, Gerda Lissner and Verismo Competition.

Queen of the Night – Liane Grasso

Liane Grasso (Queen of the Night) is pleased to be making her Connecticut Lyric Opera debut. Notable roles include Olympia in Les Contes d’Hoffman, Adele in Die Fledermaus, Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, and Josephine in H.M.S Pinafore. Concert appearances include the soprano solos in Haydn’s St. Nicholas Mass (Mystic River Chorale) and Handel’s Messiah (Enterprise Opera). Equally at home in both opera and musical theater, Ms. Grasso has performed with Boston’s top theater companies, including the North Shore Music Theatre (Kiss Me, Kate), the Lyric Stage Company of Boston (Anne in A Little Night Music), and the New Repertory Theatre (Johanna in the Elliot Norton-award winning production of Sweeney Todd), and she created the role of Tiger Lee in the world premiere of Mr. Lee’s Fabulous Circus. Ms. Grasso holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music and a Master of Music degree from Florida State University.

Papageno – Matthew Gamble

Lyric baritone Matthew Gamble (Betto) made his professional debut in the title role of Don Giovanni in a special concert performance at the Prague Castle in the Czech Republic.  Following these performances he was further engaged as the Count in Le Nozze di Figaro and Papageno in Die Zauberflote.  He is currently in the 75th Anniversary National Tour of the Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess performing the roles of Jim and the Funeral Soloist. Recent engagements include Carmina Burana with the Cobb Symphony, Pirates of Penzance with the Atlanta Lyric Theatre, and Betto in Gianni Schicchi under the baton of Maestro Anton Coppola.

Papagena– Elizabeth Kinder

Soprano Elizabeth Kinder (Papagena) is enjoying her fourth season with the Connecticut Lyric Opera Company.  In Fall 2009 she made her formal debut as Giannetta in L’elisir d’amour, after singing with the CTLO chorus in Eugene Onegin (Fall 2008) and La Traviata (Spring 2009).   A senior at Connecticut College and student of Jurate Waller, in December Ms. Kinder will sing Donna Anna in scenes from Don Giovanni with the Connecticut College Orchestra.   Ms. Kinder has sung in the United States and Europe with numerous professional and student choral ensembles, including the Providence Singers, Newport Baroque Orchestra, and the Kronos Quartet.  She has performed at Carnegie Hall, on NBC’S Today Show, and in the 2007 PBS broadcast of the Saint Olaf College Christmas Festival. Ms. Kinder recently returned from Salzburg, Austria, where she studied voice and opera at the internationally-acclaimed Mozarteum.

Monastatos – Daniel Juarez

Tenor Daniel Juárez (Monostatos) makes his CT Lyric Opera debut in this production.  Daniel’s other operatic credits include Don José in La Tragédie de Carmen (an adaptation of Bizet’s opera), Rodolfo and Parpignol in Puccini’s La Bohème, Ferrando in Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte, Ralph Rackstraw in HMS Pinafore, Jaspar in Amahl and the Night Visitors, and leading tenor roles in many opera scenes programs.  He is a former Minnesota Opera Studio Artist and appeared regularly for six years in the Minnesota Opera’s Chorus.  Daniel was a finalist in the 2005 Southwest Region Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. Daniel also performs frequently in recital and in concert and has been featured as the tenor soloist for performances of Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem and Vesperae solennes de Confessore, J.S. Bach’s Magnificat, Ariel Ramirez’ Misa Criolla, Dubois’ Seven Last Words of Christ, and Schütz’ Sieben Worte Jesu Christi am Kreuz. Daniel holds a Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music.  He is currently the Administrative Manager of the Yale World Fellows Program and Director of Music at Branford Evangelical Free Church.  Daniel lives in North Branford, CT with his wife, mezzo-soprano, Cybil Jones-Juarez, and their two sons, Danny (3) and Ricky (9 mos.).

1st Lady – Eden Casteel

A “stunning coloratura soprano” with a “great sense of comic timing,” Eden Casteel has graced venues from the Great Lakes to Graz, Austria. She holds a Master of Music Degree from The University of Maryland at College Park, and a Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.  A brand new New Englander, Eden taught voice at Hillsdale College and Spring Arbor University in Michigan, and is now an instructor at Courthouse Center For The Arts in West Kingston, Rhode Island. Favorite roles include The Queen of The Night in The Magic Flute, Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, an unusual pairing of Susanna and The Queen of the Night in a production of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus. She was a First Place Winner in the Columbus Symphony Orchestra Young Musician’s Competition, a Finalist in the 25th Annual Meistersinger Competition in Graz, Austria, a Finalist in the Great Lakes Lyric Opera Competition, and a Semifinalist in the OperaLenawee! Voice Competition.  A former reporter with the Cincinnati Enquirer who earned a journalism certificate along with her voice degree, Eden combined her opera and writing talents in Le Nozze Di Tutte (All Marriages are Like That), a combination of Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte and Le Nozze Di Figaro, which was performed to hilarious acclaim in 2005 and 2006. Her one-act Jane Austen musical parody, Bride And Flatulence, was performed by the Tower Players of Hillsdale MI in 2010.

2nd Lady – Jennifer Marshall

Jennifer Marshall, soprano, received her Master of Music from the Manhattan School of Music, where she performed the title role in the North American premiere of Martinu’s opera, Mirandolina. Other noteworthy operatic performances have been that of Queen Elizabeth I in Maria Stuarda, Masha in Pasatieri’s The Seagull, and the title role in Puccini’s Suor Angelica. Originally from Huntington, NY, Jennifer received her Bachelor of Music from the Purchase College Conservatory of Music, a second Bachelor’s degree in Italian from Stony Brook University, and is also an alumna of Renata Scotto’s U.S. Opera Academy. As a Jenny Lind Competition First Prize winner, she performed in a concert tour of Sweden, which included performing in Stockholm’s famous and historic Confidencen Theatre. She is an active recitalist and concert soloist in both the New York and Connecticut area and has performed with such groups as the Bridgeport Symphony Orchestra and Westchester Choral Society. Ms. Marshall recently made her debut with the Delaware Valley Opera as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte and is a 2010 Classical Singer Convention Competition Winner.

3rd Lady – Brooke Larimer

Of her performance in the title role of Carmen with Boston Opera Collaborative, The Boston Musical Intelligencer wrote, “Brooke Larimer gave us a dark, husky…[and] rapacious Carmen.” This fall, Brooke makes her debut as Hansel (Hansel and Gretel) with Longwood Opera and with Connecticut Lyric Opera as Dritte Dame (Die Zauberflöte). During Spring 2011, she will perform with Opera Boston, Quincy Choral Society and Choral Art Society. Other roles include Zita (Gianni Schicchi), Bradamante (Alcina), Jenny (The Threepenny Opera), and Mrs. Soames (Our Town). Performances with Raylynmor Opera, Commonwealth Opera, Granite State Opera, and Juventas! New Music Ensemble.

Speaker/2nd Priest – Gregory Sheppard

Gregory Sheppard, bass has been heard in opera, concert and recital throughout the United States and in Europe.  He has performed leading roles with New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera (Western Opera Tour), Glimmerglass Opera, Philadelphia Opera and numerous others.  His solo appearances with orchestra’s include Verdi Messe di Requiem with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, Mozart Requiem with the New Haven Symphony as well as the orchestra’s of Buffalo, Rochester, Denver, Sioux City, Chattanooga, Springfield, Norfolk and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and Little Orchestra Society at Lincoln Center.  In Europe he has been heard in Tan Dunn’s Peonies Pavilion at the Vienna Festival and premieres in Munich for the Biennale Festival, Savonlinna Opera (Finland) and Orchestra I solisti di Roma (Rome, Florence, Venice, Sienna)  A winner of numerous awards, he is a Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions finalist and study grant winner.  Upcoming appearances include Balthazar in Amahl and the Night Visitors with Buffalo Opera, Tonio in I Pagliacci with Ottawa Opera (Canada), soloist in the Lord Nelson Mass with the Roy Prescod Chorale and recitals in New York, Washington, DC, St. Augustine, Florida among others.

1st Priest – Alexis Benson

Alexis is happy to make his debut covering Tamino and singing First Priest in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte with Connecticut Lyric Opera.   Coming to study singing by way of the piano, Puerto Rican Lyric Tenor Alexis D. Benson received his Master of Music in Voice Performance and Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance degrees from Shenandoah Conservatory. Alexis is a native of New York, New York and is the past pupil of renowned tenor and professor emeritus Jackson Sheats and also held the Jackson H. Sheats Endowed Scholarship of Music. Alexis continues to be an active accompanist and is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Men’s Music Fraternity.  He has participated in master classes with Bradley Moore, Russell Braun, Thomas Barrett and Verena Rein. He was a participantof the Wintergreen Summer Music Festival, Shenandoah Performs Music Festival, Centro Studi Lirico in Bologna and has performed as a member the Belcantanti Opera Company. In addition to his studies, Alexis has performed as Jacquino in Fidelio, Sailor in Dido and Aeneas, Prunier in La Rondine, Captain Corcoran in HMS Pinafore, King Kasper in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Don Basilio in Le nozze di Figaro and Dr. Blind in Die Fledermaus with the Loudon Lyric Opera.  Alexis has been a tenor soloist for Bach’s Cantata BWV 111 and Magnificat, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Mass in C minor, Coronation Mass and Requiem, and Saint-Säens Christmas Oratorio. Scholastically, Mr. Benson has publicly presented research on the Life and Music of Garcia Lorca, Robert Schumann’s Dichterliebe, opus 39 and the History of the Spiritual entitled “Goin’-Home”. He is currently preparing research on the Life and Music of Puerto Rican salsa singer, Hector Lavoe for Spring 2011.  Recently Alexis was tenor soloist for Mozart’s Coronation Mass with the LSU Symphony Orchestra in Baton Rouge, LA. Alexis made his solo debut as a student in Brahms Liebeslieder Waltzes at the National Shrine in Washington D.C. and will return in Spring 2011 for a solo recital. Coming from a detailed background of Student Affairs history, Alexis recently served dual responsibilities as Adjunct Professor of Voice and Diction and directed the University Chorale (Department of Fine Arts) and was Residence Coordinator (Division of Student Affairs) at Barry University in Miami, FL. Alexis is currently teaching privately and Residential Hall Director at Mitchell College in New London, CT

1st Spirit – Adrianne Bitting

Soprano Adrienne Bitting is currently a senior at Connecticut College and a student of Jurate Waller.  She is a frequent soloist with the Connecticut College Chamber Choir as well as the Connecticut College Orchestra in works such as Beethoven’s Mass in C Minor and Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater. Adrienne has sung with CLO chorus in La Traviata and Elixir of Love, as well as with the Salt Marsh Opera chorus in Lucia di Lammermoor.  This past spring, she spent a semester in Vienna, Austria studying voice with soprano Donna Robin and studying the German Lied with Dr. Morten Solvik. This December, she will sing Zerlina in the finale of Don Giovanni with the Connecticut College Orchestra.

2nd Spirit – Laura Koroski

Laura Koroski is excited to be making her solo debut in The Magic Flute. She has sung with CLO in La Traviata and Gianni Schicchi, and studies voice with Jurate Svedaite-Waller. A native of the Chicago area, she plans to graduate in May from Connecticut College with degree in history and music.

3rd Spirit – Harrison Gatch

Born and raised in Westerly, RI.  Attended Saint Michael School in Pawcatuck, CT (K to 8th.)  Harrison is presently a 9th grade honors student at The Prout School in Rhode Island.  This past January Harrison had his debut as Amahl in “Amahl and the Night Visitors” in Stonington, CT to a sold out crowd.  He will play Amahl one last time in Rhode Island in December.  His first production with CLO was “Gianni Schicchi” last spring. Besides singing, Harrison enjoys bird watching, fly fishing and tying, boating, surfing, and snowboarding.  He is also a Black Belt, very accomplished competitive Optimist sailor, a published poet, and won numerous awards for prize speaking.  His favorite actors are Rex Harrison, Nathan Lane, and Jonny Depp.  He hopes to be cast in a role in “Sweeney Todd”, his favorite musical, someday.

1st Armored Man – Fred Goff

2nd Armored Man – Hartley Horn


Projections and Text Credits:

  • Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, Mystic, CT
  • Micheley Angelina
  • Karin Gatch
  • Marco Kramer
  • Frank Hube
  • Cori Ellison

Special Thanks to:

  • Eva Magyar
    University of Connecticut Costume Collection
  • The Flock Theatre, New London
  • Hole in the Wall Theatre, New Britain
  • Anne Pilla, Fred D’Aprile and Trinity-on Main

Press Release:

Connecticut Virtuosi & Connecticut Lyric Opera to Perform Mozart’s the Magic Flute throughout Connecticut

The Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra and the CT Lyric Opera (CLO) is pleased to announce the first joined offering of its 2010-2011 performance season, a fully staged touring production of W. A. Mozart’s serio-comic masterpiece, Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute).  Mozart’s final opera beautifully expresses the triumph of virtue, benevolence, enlightenment, and love over falsehood, cruelty, and evil; of light over darkness.  CLO stages Magic Flute sung in German with English surtitles and with spoken dialogue in English.   Magic Flute occurs in a mythic time and place reminiscent of Egypt, since the Egyptian gods Isis and Osiris are evoked by the priests and people associated with Sarastro, Priest of the Sun and the clerics of his temple.  The struggle between good and evil is centered on Sarastro and the Queen of the Night.  Sarastro has abducted the Queen’s daughter, Pamina, to save her from her wicked mother; and at the beginning of the opera the Queen and her three ladies dupe Prince Tamino into going to Sarastro’s realm to “rescue” Pamina, whose portrait nakes the young prince fall in love with her.  Tamino is accompanied to the temple by a comic figure, Papageno, the Queen’s birdcatcher.  The Orator and other priests lead Tamino to Sarastro, and he and Pamina are eventually brought to love and enlightenment.  They resist the further temptations of the Queen and her minions, undergo  trials by fire and water, and are united with each other and inducted into the priestly state.  The comic Papageno also comes to virtue.  His simpler trials include keeping silent and relating to his betrothed, Papagena, who first appears as an ugly old hag but finally morphs into a beautiful young woman.  At the end all demons are exorcised:  the Queen of the Night, her ladies; and Monostatos, Sarastro’s nefarious servant, sink into the earth.  Pamina will be sung by Connecticut Lyric Opera star soprano, Jurate Svedaite-Waller, who last season triumphed in the company’s L’elisir d’amore, Pagliacci, and Gianni Schicchi and has also sung lead roles in most CLO productions.  Internationally acclaimed tenor Michael Wade Lee will be Tamino.  He starred as the Duke in the CLO’s Rigoletto and has sung with New York City Opera and a number of American opera companies, Greek National Opera (Don José in Carmen with Denyce Graves), and Staatstheater Mainz, Germany.  Sarastro will be sung by bass-baritone Laurentiu Rotaru, who has starred with CLO as Dulcamara in L’elisr d’amore,  Méphistophélės in Faust, Don Basilio in The Barber of Seville, and Gremin in Eugene Onegin.   Soprano Liane Grasso will sing the demanding coloratura role of the Queen of the Night.  She has sung roles at Opera Boston, Lyric Stage Company of Boston and elsewhere and teaches at Riverside Theater Works. Baritone Matthew Gamble, CLO’s Papageno, who sang in its Gianni Schicchi last season, made his career debut with Prague National Theater as Don Giovanni, and sang roles in the 75th anniversary tour of Porgy and Bess.    Soprano Elizabeth Kinder, a Connecticut College student who sang in the company’s L’elisir d’amore, returns as Papagena.

This production will be conducted by Connecticut Virtuosi & CLO’s General and Artistic Director, Adrian Sylveen with Virtuosi performing as the opera’s orchestra. Stage direction is by Michael Philip Davis, who is widely experienced as both a director and a singer of opera.  Set design is by Peter Strand and Michael Davis.  Chorus master is Pawel Jura.

Zauberflöte will be performed at Trinity-on-Main Arts Center, New Britain on November 12 at 8 p.m., Middletown High School on November 13 at 7:30 p.m., the Palace Theater, Waterbury on November 20 at 8 p.m., and the Garde Arts Center, New London on December 3 at 7:30 p.m.