The BSO presents a semi-staged version of "The Magic Flute"… (Handout photo, Baltimore…)
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's infrequent presentations of opera-in-concert over the past decade have included a repertoire well off the beaten path — Tchaikovsky's "Iolanta" in 2000 and Bartok's "Bluebeard's Castle" in 2005. This weekend, the focus is very familiar, very popular fare: Mozart's "The Magic Flute."
"It is the first opera I ever heard when I was a kid," said BSO music director Marin Alsop. "My dad told me the story and all about the secret codes, how the number 3 is important. When Papageno [the bird-catcher] lies and gets a lock on his mouth, I thought that was so funny."
The BSO presentation is billed as "semi-staged" and comes complete with a noted opera director, Michael Ehrman.
"People know by now that when I say 'semi-staged,' look out," Alsop said. "We won't have sets, but there will be costumes and props and quite a bit of action. And the orchestra will be integrated into the experience. One of the things that bothers me sometimes in opera is that the orchestra isn't present enough in a visual way."
"Magic Flute" will be sung in the original German with English supertitles. In place of spoken dialogue, actor Tony Tsendeas will provide narration. The cast includes soloists from the Metropolitan Opera and other major companies; members of Washington National Opera's Domingo‐Cafritz Young Artist Program; and the Baltimore Choral Arts Society.
Next season, the BSO becomes even more operatically inclined, performing in the pit for the newly formed Lyric Opera Baltimore. "I don't think this precludes us doing more semi-staged, concert operas," Alsop said. "There's the Wagner anniversary coming up in 2013."
"The Magic Flute" will be performed at 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St. Call 410-783-8000 or go to bsomusic.org.