Mozart’s DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE never played so gut!
By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Fine Arts Critic
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel
THE MAGIC FLUTE – San Francisco Opera’s fourth production of the Fall 2007 Season is a tantalizing fantastical E-Ride. No wonder – famed British cartoonist Gerald Scarfe is the Production Designer. His task is to take what is lofty, privatized and obscure and transform it into wondrous and dazzling common sense. Scarfe lassoes Mozart’s musical leap into the psyche of the Ancients and then captures a clear vision that is feast for the eyes, a treat for the heart, and a balm for the soul. Director Stanley M. Garner works magic with his singers – the archetypal characters are all at once approachable and dramatically transparent. With Music Director Donald Runnicles at the podium, this MAGIC FLUTE is a five-note sweep to the top of the operatic scale of charm and greatness. It is simply the best sung, best looking, best played, best produced work of Mozart’s beloved opera written “for the people”.
Piotr Beczala & Fans
Tenor Piotr Beczala portrays the wisdom and virtue-seeking hero “Tamino”. A native of Poland, Mr. Beczala is known around the globe for his sweet lyrical tone, and romantic presence. In 2004 San Francisco Opera provided his American opera debut as “Lensky” in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. His recordings include the role of “Alfredo” in LA TRAVIATA and ROMÉO ET JULIETTE.
Piotr Beczala & Dina Kuznetsova
Russian-American soprano Dina Kuznetsova portrays the damsel in distress, “Pamina”. A native of Moscow, Ms. Kuznetsova began her musical career as a pianist. She made her San Francisco Opera debut as “Musetta” (La Bohème) in 2004. She includes in her repertoire the role of “Violetta” (LA TRAVIATA) and the Juliets of both Gounod and Bellini.
Making her San Francisco Opera debut as “Queen of the Night”, coloratura soprano Erika Miklósa stopped the show. Descending from the rafters in a sparkling blue sphere and then situated mid-air center at the furthest point from the edge of the stage, the bright diamond-precision soprano of Erika Miklósa sailed past the proscenium, over the orchestra and up to the top balcony like a cool breeze. The much-anticipated F above High C of her Act 2 aria, “Hier seid ihr euch beide allein uherlassen” pinged with jaw-dropping accuracy.
ERIKA MIKLÓSA – Queen of the Night
CHRISTOPHER MALTMAN, Baritone – as PAPAGENO
As “Papageno”, baritone Christopher Maltman makes his San Francisco Opera debut in a role he has also sung at the GLYNDEBOURNE FESTIVAL. Mr. Maltman is an extraordinary actor with impeccable comic timing. His virile baritone teamed perfectly with Beczala and matched the strong soprano of his “Papagena”, Rhoslyn Jones. As the down-to-earth love interest, Mr. Maltman inspires fantasies of a well-feathered nest. He recently made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera as “Harlequin” (ARIADNE AUF NAXOS) and sang “Count Almaviva” (LE NOZZE DI FIGARO) at Vienna State Opera. His recordings include Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 1, ” “A SEA SYMPHONY” and the role of “Apollo” in Monteverdi’s L’ORFEO.
GEORG ZEPPENFELD, Bass – as SARASTRO
Shaking the floorboards on Low F# in the aria, “In diesen heil’gen Hallen” (“Within these hallowed halls”), bass Georg Zeppenfeld (as “Sarastro) makes an impressive SF Opera and American opera debut in a role he has performed at Berlin’s Linden Opera, Dresden’s Saxon State Opera, the Edinburgh Festival, Deutsche Oper Berlin, in Baden-Baden, and in Bern. His recordings include an amazing live concert, FESTSPIELDOKUMENTE, captured on the Orfeo d’Or lable. He also appears in recordings of Mozart’s DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE and REQUIEM.
GREG FEDDERLY – as MONOSTATOS
Greg Fedderly, as “Monostatos”, made his San Francisco Opera debut as “Brighella” in the 2002-03 production of ARIADNE AUF NAXOS and returned to the Company as “Don Basilio” in LE NOZZE DI FIGARO in 2006. Mr. Fedderly and his cronies sport the most comic of Gerald Scarfe’s costumes. As the lecherous big-assed/big-gutted slave of Sarastro, Mr. Fedderly’s vocal versatility and nimble cavorting proved him the most imaginative of all the characters. He has performed the role of “Monostatos” at the Metropolitan Opera and Los Angeles Opera, where he is a principal artist.
THE MAGIC FLUTE
See Seán’s YouTubes: SAMSON & DELILAH – Meet Seán Martinfield
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Seán Martinfield is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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