Department edits Mozart for children

Kylie Townsend/The News

Kylie Townsend/The News

The music department’s children adaptation of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” removed the stereotype of the average opera this past weekend.

The Murray State music department presented the 50-minute production last Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. This show involved a lot of audience interaction in which children in the audience got to be included in parts of the show.

Laynie Mitchell, Murray High choir director, worked on costumes, props and helped get the word out to children about the event.

This show introduced opera to a new generation of audience members for the future, she said.

“This can be exciting and fun and silly; I don’t know how many children will ever hear live opera in their future so we opened their ears now in an effort to create the audiences of the future in music, so it’s important,” Mitchell said.

The cast rehearsed two hours four nights a week starting the first week of September.

Christopher Mitchell, associate voice professor, directed “The Magic Flute.”

The show was double-cast and there were many advantages for both him and the students involved.

The students were able to watch each other perform and they had fun and laughter during rehearsals and got to see a lighter side of him, he said.

“They get to watch each other, and are able to observe each other in the staging rehearsals,” he said. “They saw the mistakes that the other person made and they saw how the entire stage looked when they’re not in it.”

Lane Northcutt, sophomore from Frankfort, Ky., had a blast playing Papageno in the show. He thought the children could really take away a lot just by learning about opera and life morals just by watching the show.

“I think that with it being an English adaptation I think that (children) will understand (opera) more and that will help them want to hear it,” he said. “The music is a lot of fun, fast paced music and it really hits home. There are a lot of things like ‘be brave’ and ‘don’t lie’ and I think that the kids will get that message through it and they’ll just love it.”

The children’s adaption was first introduced by Nashville Opera for their children’s outreach program.

Even though the show is adapted for children, Mitchell hoped it would give everyone a better understanding of what opera is and why it is important in the community.

“It’s really not just for children, it’s for the whole community to realize that opera is not the elitist, intimidating thing that we are led to believe in the popular media,” he said.

They shouldn’t be intimidated at all when they see the title ‘opera’ and secondly they should be seeking it out; they should demand that it gets created in our community as well, not just in big cities.”

 Story by Dominique Duarte, Staff writer.