Tenor makes impressive debut in Lyric’s delightful “Magic Flute”
The Lyric Opera’s popular production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute is hardly a show in need of improvement, with a nearly faultless cast, imaginative staging and fluent musical and stage direction.
Alek Shrader has joined the company as Tamino for the final two weeks of the run, and with his notable Lyric debut Monday night, this Zauberflöte remains just as strongly sung and delightful a show as it was in December.
Shrader won widespread renown in 2009 as one of the singers profiled in The Audition, a documentary about the 2007 Metropolitan Opera finals. Advance word has been strong on the young tenor who made an auspicious Santa Fe Opera bow in 2010 in the title role of Britten’s Albert Herring.
Charles Castronovo proved an excellent Tamino in previous performances and Shrader maintains the same high level. The handsome Cleveland native made a dashing prince, physically and vocally, displaying a lyric tenor with the flexibility and ping for the role. On Monday night, his account of Dies Bildnes was sensitively done if wanting in varied coloring and tonal sweetness on top. Shrader went from strength to strength, however, as the evening unfolded, singing with a firmly focused line and supple tone as needed
The rest of the cast is unchanged and remains first-class: Nicole Cabell’s gloriously sung Pamina, Stephane Degout’s vocally robust and genuinely funny Papageno, and Gunther Groissböck’s dignified and sonorous Sarastro. Audrey Luna’s Queen of the Night has improved from opening night with greater security and a notably fiery Der Hölle Rache.
Some tempos drooped a bit in Act 1 and the orchestra took awhile to warm up Monday. Otherwise, Sir Andrew Davis led a spirited and idiomatic performance alive to the wit, depth and soaring lyricism of Mozart’s remarkable score.
Seats are getting scarce for the final performances, but this Lyric Opera production remains an absolutely delightful show and well worth the effort to secure tickets.
The Magic Flute runs through Jan. 22. lyricopera.org; 312-332-2244.
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