QUINCY -- A prince and a narrow escape from a dragon, a birdman and a clash with an enchanted queen all are part of the storyline, but loyal friendship and honorable character matter most as Muddy River Opera Company presents Mozart's "The Magic Flute."
Performances in English with a full orchestra take place at 7 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday in the Mary Ellen Orr Auditorium on the John Wood Community College campus.
An Opera Insight with Carol Mathieson 30 minutes before each performance will explain why such zaniness and idealism could exist together in the Enlightenment world of the 18th Century yet still delight audiences today.
Tickets are $20 for general seating and are available at County Market stores in Quincy, online through Arts Quincy, artsquincy.org, and at the door.
Returning from last season's production of "Carmen," Penelope Shumate and Steven Soebbing appear as the Princess Pamina and the Birdcatcher Papageno. Nebraska maestro David Galant returns to conduct the production, while Mark Freiman comes back to Quincy to direct and serves as the Speaker.
New among the feature characters, Amanda Saul Ensign rages as the Queen of the Night who tries to force all she meets to bow to her reign of chaos. Resisting her power, Prince Tamino (Richard G. Leonberger) holds true to his innate nobility with the guidance of the sage Sarastro (Zachary Palmer) and the help of an enchanted flute, while the wicked henchman Monostatos (Zachary Thomas Newman) stirs up trouble. The Queen's Ladies (Lisa Blake, Hali Liles and Mary McMurtery) deliver orders, curses and magical instruments to stir the cauldron of chaos.
Rounding out the cast is Makayla Briggs as Papagena, Matthew Scheuermann as the First Armed Man, David Czehut as the Second Armed Man, William Jackson as the First Priest and Aiden Singh as the Second Priest.
Serving as Sprites are Madison McClain, Arrow Crist and Emma Snyder. Animals and children include Allana Snyder, Zach Snyder, Lily Twaddle and Caleigh Twaddle.
Chorus members are Makayla Briggs, Evan Conover, David Czechut, Ian Del Rosario, Dan Disselhorst, Elizabeth Fodor, Anna Gabel, Richard Hessling, William Jackson, Carol Mathieson, Larry McNett, John Moore, Kyia Obert, Austin Owen, Joseph Regner, Rachel Reinbeck, Andrea Reinwald, Isaac Reinwald, Nicole Smart, Amy Stollberg, Natalie Ulrich, Gerry Wagner, Rebecca Walker, Leah Walker, William Winn and Rachel Zimmerman.
Paul Shelor serves as chorus master, Jane Polett as concert mistress, Vicki Daggett as orchestra liaison, Matthew Scheuermann and Samantha Pillars as stage managers, Garris Brown as technical director, Valerie Hernandez for costumes and Chandler Fey and Jessica Abrego as crew.