Ouachita Baptist University’s Opera Theatre will present Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Magic Flute Nov. 17-20. The production is a two-act comedic opera to be presented in English. Performances will be held in Jones Performing Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 17-19 and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20. Tickets are $10 each and may be purchased at www.obu.edu/boxoffice or at the JPAC Box Office.
Pictured (L-R): Xavier Lagunas as Prince Tamino, Caitlin Secrest as Princess Pamina, Grace Johnson as The Queen of the Night on Nov. 18 & 20, John Tneoh as Sarastro, Rachel Harris as The Queen of the Night on Nov. 17 & 19, Hannah Garner as Papagena and Joel Rogier as Papageno. Photo by James Wood.
“Perhaps the most popular of all of Mozart’s operas, both the story and music of The Magic Flute are timeless and immediately appealing,” said Dr. Jon Secrest, who serves as co-director, music director and conductor of The Magic Flute and chair of OBU’s department of applied music.
The Magic Flute is the story of a young prince named Tamino who is coerced by the Queen of the Night to rescue her daughter Pamina. Tamino is given a magic flute that will protect him from danger, and the opera tells of the journey Tamino takes to rescue Pamina.
“The storyline evokes every emotion from laughter and sadness to revenge and mercy,” said Rachel Harris, who plays the Queen of the Night. “The characters in this opera are characters that any audience member can relate to, not to mention that the music is breathtaking.”
The opera will be fully produced with sets, lighting, costumes and orchestral accompaniment.
“This will be the OBU Opera Theatre’s most lavish production to date,” Secrest noted. “Our cast is full of tremendously talented young singers whose goal it is to deliver an incredible evening of entertainment.”
Dr. Glenda Secrest, OBU professor of music, serves as co-director and stage director for the show. Joey Licklider, manager of Jones Performing Arts Center, serves as technical designer and technical director for the show.
The production team also includes a team of three coach-accompanists: John Alec Briggs, an OBU graduate from Hot Springs, Ark.; Louis Menendez, a New York native living in Hot Springs, Ark.; and Susan Monroe, an OBU graduate from Texarkana, Texas.
“Susan has been supporting the OBU opera productions for a number of years now and is one of the rock-steady forces behind the program,” Dr. Jon Secrest noted. Briggs and Menendez are new additions to the OBU Opera Theatre team.
“John brings a wealth of experience to our production, having performed as a cabaret headliner for various cruise lines worldwide, serving as organist-choirmaster at Saint George Episcopal Church in Hempstead, N.Y., and as part of the Broadway design and production team for Jekyll and Hyde as well as other shows,” Secrest added. “Louis enjoys an international reputation as a conductor and coach-accompanist, having collaborated with such international stars as Max Rudolf, Placido Domingo and Julius Rudel. In addition, Mr. Menendez has served as operatic coach to notable artists such as Sherrill Milnes, Birgit Nilsson, Renata Scotto, Alfredo Kraus and Luciano Pavarotti.”
“Every year the opera is an incredible experience for the students,” Dr. Glenda Secrest said. “As the stage director, it is wonderful for me to see the evolution that the opera goes through each year from the auditions to the students being cast to the countless hours of helping them learn the music and even more hours instructing them in the creative process of blocking the show. Those who attend will be amazed with what the students have accomplished.”
One role in the show will be double cast. For the Nov. 18 and 20 performances, The Queen of the Night will be played by Grace Johnson, a senior vocal performance major from Tyler, Texas. For the Nov. 17 and 19 performances, the role of The Queen of the Night will be sung by Rachel Harris, a senior music theatre and vocal performance major from Springdale, Ark.
The following students will perform each night: Xavier Lagunas, a senior music theatre major from Dallas, Texas, as Tamino; Caitlin Secrest, a sophomore vocal performance major from Arkadelphia, Ark., as Pamina; Joel Rogier, a sophomore vocal performance major from Edwardsville, Ill., as Papageno; Hannah Garner, a junior vocal performance major from Saginaw, Mich., as Papagena; DeCarl Jones, a sophomore music theatre major from Rowlett, Texas, as Monastatos; and John Tneoh, a junior vocal performance major from Sungai Pentani, Thailand, as Sarastro.
Additional members of the cast include: Alyssa Reynolds, a junior vocal performance major from Sanger, Texas, as First Spirit; Ashley Bundy, a sophomore vocal performance major from Justin, Texas, as Second Spirit; Lola McClendon, a junior music theatre major from Springdale, Ark., as Third Spirit; Joshua Wayne, a freshman vocal performance major from Bella Vista, Ark., as The Speaker; Josiah Wheeler, a senior music education major from Jacksonville, Ark., as First Priest; Jacob Sturgeon, a sophomore music education major from Pine Bluff, Ark., as Second Priest; Victoria Mantooth, a sophomore vocal performance major from Sherwood, Ark., as First Lady; Meredith Martin, a sophomore vocal performance and music education major from Garland, Texas, as Second Lady; and Bethany Swiontek, a junior music theatre major from Colorado Springs, Colo., as Third Lady.
Female chorus members will include: Bekah Anthony, a junior vocal performance major from Roanoke, Texas; Gabriel Baltzley, a sophomore music theatre major from Little Rock, Ark.; Candace Carr, a freshman vocal performance major from Sherwood, Ark.; Gemma Guiomard, a sophomore music theatre major from Desoto, Texas; Christina Moon, a freshman vocal performance major from Carrollton, Texas; Anna Moxley, a freshman vocal performance major from Bluefield, Va.; Alayna Rutledge, a freshman vocal performance from Monroe, La.; Jessica Smith, a freshman vocal performance major from Van Buren, Ark.; and Jillian Turner, a freshman vocal performance and piano performance major from Fort Worth, Texas.
Male chorus members will include: Connor Goad, a freshman music theatre major from Hot Springs, Ark.; Stewart Kelly, a junior church music major from Keller, Texas; Todd McNeel, a freshman music education major from Grand Prairie, Texas; Houston Murray, a sophomore music education major from Hot Springs, Ark.; Ben Perry, a sophomore music theatre major from North Little Rock, Ark.; Blaine Surber, a freshman music theatre major from Sulphur Springs, Texas; and Mitchell Yost, a freshman vocal performance major from Rogers, Ark.
Tickets are $10 each and may be purchased by visiting the Jones Performing Arts Center Box Office weekdays from 1-5 p.m. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.obu.edu/boxoffice. Students with an OBU ID may receive one free ticket for the show. For more information, call the box office at (870) 245-5563 during business hours.
By Lara Overman