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On Sunday, August 18 "planned spontaneity," will occur in the Wallenpaupack Area High School's auditorium when members of the Delaware Valley Opera Company perform Mozart's "Abduction from the Seraglio," said Carol Castel the general manager and artistic director of DVO.
Mozart's music, Castel said, is like a football play because of the immediacy that happens in the moment, where energy is poured into one minute and the play is essential to the staging where there are times when the play works and sometimes it doesn't. With opera, Castel said, the energy that creates the music is, "miraculous."
"Mischievous Magnificent Mozart," was DVO's theme this summer, with members of DVO performing a few of Mozart's compositions. Castel said she chose "Abduction from the Seraglio" because it presents some of the most spectacular singing music she has ever heard. She explained that it is, "very clever and very funny and very easy to watch." The show, she said, is Mozart at his best and it doesn't present a dull moment, but rather it is a quick show that isn't complicated because the cast is small. The singing, Castel added is, "absolutely brilliant."
Written in the 1700's, Castel said the show takes place in Turkey with the cast wearing Arabic garb. When the opera was written, Castel said that Mozart wrote the music the way he thought Turkish music would sound. The show, she said, has a lot of funny music that has an Asian sound to it. With a laugh, she added that it was Mozart's idea of what Turkish music would sound like both, "funny and cute."
Although opera isn't necessary appealing to everyone, Castel said the music can be, "breathtaking," because it can take listeners to a different level, a personal level. The music, she stated, is not like anything else because of the art, visuals and music that creates "grand dramatic ideas that are based on humanity," so they will appeal to anyone. Additionally, the music tells the story even more than the words because its musical language. The plot, Castel said, is a basic dramatic message that is contemporary since its all about humanity, and is actually very much like Shakespeare. She explained that a lot of operas were written after Shakespeare's stories and so the stories work because they include: big drama, great characters with terrific stories and music.
With opera, the power of the human voice is presented in a fashion like no other genre of music, Castel said. She explained that opera is the only form of music where performers don't use microphones. Opera, she said, is the only kind of human voice aside from recitals where listeners can get the physical sound in the vibration that comes from the body. She added that there is, "nothing like this."
Opera, is an "intimate way to see a theater," Castel stated because it is, "much more in our face," since listeners hear the music in a totally different way than if they were in the most acoustically sound theater. Listeners, she said, get a physical vibration of the sound that can't be reproduced. She added that the music is, "really amazing when you see it the way its supposed to be seen."
Members of DVO are mostly professionals and there are local singers. The cast of Sunday's show are visiting the region from as far away as Mississippi, Ohio, North Carolina and New York City, with three local artists too. The performers in "Abduction from the Seraglio," Castel said are some of the best, who have fabulous voices and acting talents.
A professional opera singer, Jay Carr is visiting the region from Mississippi to be Osmin in "Abduction from the Seraglio." As an overseer of a harem, the women are Osmin's wives and so it is his job to keep everyone in line and keep intruders out.
Since the age of five, Carr has been singing when he started in his church's children's choir. But, it wasn't until college that he realized he had the skill to sing opera. Always fascinated with the music, today he said that he couldn't imagine doing anything else but sing opera. Although he performs whenever the opportunity arises, to pay the bills, Carr is also a waiter. Music, he said, is a difficult career that isn't meant for everyone, because there are a lot of sacrifices.
Last year, Carr actually played Osmin in another production with Castel. Mozart's music, Carr said, makes him happy because he associates Mozart with spring, summer and sunshine. The arias or melodies in the show that are sung by the different characters are each like a hit, Carr said. Every role in the opera, he added, has an aria that people strive to sing one someday.
In "Abduction from the Seraglio," Carr explained the arias are what makes the show stand out because each one is powerful, presenting huge challenges to the singers. The music, he explained, is so well written that he finds it stunning. The arias, are so good that audience members are likely, to leave humming, he added.
The biggest challenges to this piece, Carr said, is maintaining one's stamina. He explained that Mozart's work isn't easy and so as Osmin the range of his voice has to go from high to low and stay with the other characters. He added that, "your facilities are truly tested with this opera."
The show at Wallenpaupack Area High School will be Sunday, August 18 at 3 p.m. and tickets are $25. There are additional performances happening in the region. For further information visit http://www.delawarevalleyopera.org/.