Capawock Theater
The unassuming marquee at the Capawock Theater in Vineyard Haven is a stark contrast to the thrilling opera awaiting these lucky people. Photos by Ralph Stewart

Opera in blue jeans

By Anna Marie D'Addarie - January 18, 2007

Islanders know how to dress for the opera: blue jeans, corduroys, Crocs and socks. Last Sunday we took advantage of the opportunity to see "The Magic Flute" in high definition (HD) at the Capawock Theater in Vineyard Haven. The production was filmed on Dec. 30, 2006, and sent out on live feed to theaters around the world. Emerging Pictures, in partnership with the Metropolitan Opera, brought the HD version of the "Magic Flute" to the Capawock, the first in a six-opera series.

Flute got two showings last Sunday because, by opera standards, it was short, coming in at almost two hours. Opera buffs and novices alike agreed that it was a thrilling two hours and time well spent.

Capawock Theater Crowd
As word spreads about "The Magic Flute," Islanders will regret not filling these empty seats at the 2 pm show last Sunday.

The second show audience stood in a light rain outside the theater waiting for the first show to let out. As the doors opened, those outside could hear the applause. Filing out from the first show, the audience shared their enthusiasm with those on the sidewalk. Comments like, "You're going to love it." "Unbelievable," "I've never seen anything like that before." "You're in for a treat," built up the anticipation for those of us waiting to get in.

Flute was designed and directed by Julie Taymor. I hesitate to mention her long-running Broadway triumph "The Lion King" because she was a major force in the arts long before Disney came calling. Her films include "Frida" (six Oscar nominations) and "Titus" with Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange, based on the Shakespeare play "Titus Andronicus." Opera is the perfect venue for her spectacular style. Ms. Taymor has designed and directed operas around the world.

Awards quickly follow her work, such as two Oscars for "Frieda," two OBIE awards, the first Dorothy B. Chandler award in theatre, a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship, and the Brandeis Creative Arts award, just to name a few.

For those of us familiar with Ms. Taymor's work, the success of "The Magic Flute" comes as no surprise, but seeing the opera still took your breath away. The constraints of the physical world are merely a stepping off point for Ms. Taymor. Gravity doesn't seem to exist in her world. The stage itself is just one of an infinite number of planes available to her. In spite of a 30-foot costume that requires four or five handlers, the true character of the Queen of the Night came through with an amazing array of emotion, a testament to the performer (Erika Miklosa) as well as the designer.

The HD version was the next best thing to being there. Don't miss this opportunity to see a Metropolitan Opera production on Main Street.

Opera at the Capawock schedule:

"I Purtani," by Bellini, on Sunday, Jan. 21 at 2:30 pm. The opera will feature Anna Netrebko as Elvira.

"The First Emperor," composed and conducted by Tam Dun, on Sunday, Feb. 11, at 2:30 pm, with Placido Domingo in the lead.

Look for dates and times TBA:

Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin," Rossini's "Il Barbiere di Saviglia," and Puccini's "Il Trittico."

Tickets are $18 or $15 for seniors, children, and students. Tickets may be purchased at the box office on weekdays from 6:30 to 8 pm and until 9:30 pm on weekends.