I’m George Walker. This past weekend the IU Opera opened their production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, with performances on Friday and Saturday. This weekend there’ll be performances on Friday and Saturday the 24th and 25th.
Our guests are The Magic Flute’s villains, Monostatos. Played on alternate nights by Jason Edelstein and Lucas Newman-Johnson. Tenor Jason Elestein is from Paramus, New Jersey, studies with Timothy Noble. Baritone Lucas Newman-Johnson, a central Illinois native, works with Russell Tomas.
At this time in Vienna, Mozart made Monostatos’s music sound a bit Turkish, a bit of the outsider. Jason, did you feel a bit of the outsider? The role definitely, in the staging and music itself, the character is definitely an outsider. Just by our costuming. How represented on stage. Our expressions, our movement … we’ve been directed to walk and move in such a way, that no other character does. Definitely are on the outside. We’re part of Sarastro’s domain, but even in the domain, you feel like sort of an outsider. We have a part, point of power, but we’re also still subject to some of his cruelty. It definitely makes us kind of the villain. Hopefully posed on some of those heart-strings. We’ll see.
Lucas: Well, personally I feel very welcomed by the cast. This my first show at Jacobs. I’ve made a lot of friends and feel like the scenery of the set is welcoming me with open arms. But in terms, in terms of the onstage presentation. Yah, I agree with everything that Jason said. The goal is, the character sort of sticks out like a sore thumb. Yah, he’s grungy, creepy, dirty. I find it very fun. Very entertaining to play. It’s a lot of sort of over the top acting. It’s nice, the comic relief at times. The characterization is something that we’ve been kind of careful with. As you mentioned earlier, the music that he sings would have sounded to Viennese ears as Turkish. The character himself is, in the libretto, a sort of racial caricature. So I think that the staging, we’ve done, has taken us in a less racist direction, which is very necessary for putting the show on. I’ve a captured outsiderness in a healthier way.
The two of you, basically team up with the Queen of the Night and become her allies. Jason’s take on that:
It’s a very interesting idea. You know, we’re part of Sarastro’s domain. Though, the kind of the way we’re making this character, is someone who has power, but also being punished. So, when we see Pamina. You know, we’re seeing a woman in this domain. It’s the character’s want and desire to be with her. We really want , to get a look at this beautiful, you now, young maiden. That Sarastro has in no better words, abducted. You know, we take pride in our work in a way that would seem comical. You know our reward for capturing Tamino and bringing him back in, is seventy-seven lashes on the feet from Sarastro. Wow, what did we do to deserve this! And Sarastro is like, no need to thank.
In the second act, we come out. We are saying that, okay, we’ll help you get your power back, but only if you promise to get your daughter to marry us. Yes, definitely, our character looks away and she is like, has her fingers crossed behind her back. Yah, like I’m really going to give my daughter up to this guy for doing this. We’re in it, for it.
Lucas: I think for people who come see the show, understand the plot, too much. It kinda doesn’t make sense. As Jason says, there’s no…you don’t get any explanations for why this changing of sides happens. I think that the libretto, for me, I feel as though it makes sense, the Queen of the Night and Monostatos are sort of on the same plane. In terms of they’re both, They’re goals in this show, they’re very single minded. They have something they want. That’s the full motivation. The Queen of the Night, her whole stick is, she’s here for revenge. So the fact that they team up in the end makes a lot of sense to me. They’re both desperate people, with one thing on their minds. And here they are, doing whatever they can to get it.
This past weekend the IU Opera opened their production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. This week-end they’re be performances on Friday and Saturday, the 24th and the 25th. Our guests are The Magic Flute’s Villains, Monostatos played on alternate nights by Jason Edelstein and Lucas Newman-Johnson.
I’m George Walker.