by Gail Burns. For the Berkshire-Capital region’s most comprehensive listing of theatre offerings visit GailSez.org
Have I explained to you how amazing it is to see professional opera in a 1879 wooden opera house in tiny, rural Cambridge, NY.? Have I told you about how beautiful and peaceful the drive there is? How reasonable the ticket prices are? Every August I look forward to the Hubbard Hall Opera Theater (HHOT) production.
This year its The Magic Flute. Magic would be the operative word. I guarantee you, even if you have never seen an opera before or think you don’t like opera, you will love this. And if you are already an opera fan, you will be blown away.
Today opera is usually presented in enormous houses. The audience is often so far from the stage that opera glasses are required to actually see the faces of the singers on stage. At Hubbard Hall the house is small enough to provide a thrillingly close look at all the action, but big enough to handle an audience of about 150, a cast of twenty three, and a twenty piece orchestra. Top ticket price is $30. These figures should tell you two things: 1) There is not a bad seat in the house, and 2) You’d better book tickets NOW because seating is limited and there are only five performances.
The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte), with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder, was first performed in Vienna, Austria in September of 1791. We call it an opera now, but Mozart and Schikaneder called it a Singspiele, which is really just the 18th century German word for musical comedy. It is now the eighth most performed opera in the world.