Bard premiere of Maurice Sendak opera paired with Magic Flute, Redux

Soprano Zoe Johnson as the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute Redux (Bard Conservatory)

Soprano Zoe Johnson as the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute, Redux (Bard Conservatory)

There are certain artforms that can seem inaccessible, even intimidating, if we aren’t exposed to them early in life – opera being perhaps the most obvious example. And yet it’s full of spectacle that can entrance the childlike imagination. Can opera be made kid-friendly?

Mozart proved that it could, with his musical fairytale The Magic Flute, in which a prince undertakes a quest to free a captive princess from a sorcerer. And more recently, Oliver Knussen has set a libretto by the beloved children’s book author and illustrator Maurice Sendak to music: Higglety Pigglety Pop! which relates the adventures of a dog who runs away from home in search of “something more.”

A double bill of the two works – very different in musical style but both appealing to children – will be performed, fully staged, by students in the Bard College Conservatory of Music at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts on the Bard campus in Annandale next weekend. The performances will constitute the New York premiere of Higglety Pigglety Pop! The Magic Flute, Redux is an abridged version of Mozart’s opera that should prove more accommodating to young attention spans.

James Bagwell will conduct the Bard College Conservatory Orchestra, and all roles will be sung by Master’s degree students in the Conservatory’s Graduate Vocal Arts Program. Curtain time for The Magic Flute, Redux and Higglety Pigglety Pop! is 7 p.m. on Friday, March 4 and 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 6. Ticket prices range from $15 to $35; special $100 tickets include premium seating and a reception with the artists on March 6. All ticket sales benefit the Graduate Vocal Arts Program Scholarship Fund. To purchase, call the Fisher Center box office at (845) 758-7900 or go to www.fishercenter.bard.edu.

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