Stepping on stage as the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s The Magic Flute is a role that’s been on Sharleen Joynt bucket’s list for years.
The 32-year-old coloratura soprano from Ottawa doesn’t often get to perform characters like the Queen of the Night. Usually the roles she sings are cutesy, like a friend of the maid.
“It’s so iconic. It’s one of the most famous roles in I would say coloratura repertoire,” said Joynt. “What you see is not necessarily what you get. There’s more to her than meets the eye.”
Presented by Pacific Opera Victoria, The Magic Flute is described as a celebration of the power of true love; a tale that includes peril, comedy, magic and the enchanting music of Mozart.
The opera starts out like a fairy tale. The Queen of the Night sends Prince Tamino and his unwilling sidekick Papageno on a quest to rescue her daughter Pamina (with whom Tamino falls in love). But Mozart transforms the light-hearted adventure into something far more profound as the young trio undergo a succession of trials.
Led by stage director Oriol Tomas, the creative team has devised a magical universe for the production. That team includes Patricia Ruel, creative director with Cirque du Soleil, costume designer Laurence Mongeau, who collaborated with Tomas on a recent production of Les Caprices de Marianne (which toured 16 opera houses in France), and lighting designer Eric Chapoux, who’s also worked with Cirque du Soleil.
Joynt, who’ll be making her big debut with POV, has been singing since the age of seven. Being an opera singer isn’t something she ever anticipated she’d be doing with her life, but when it came time to apply for school, she had to decide what direction to pursue.
According to Joynt, it’s her voice that ultimately took her in the direction she is now, performing with a number of operas in Canada, Germany, Switzerland, and the Metropolitan Opera. She admits the business has its ups and downs, but a calm always washes over her whenever she steps on stage.
“There’s something about keeping an art like this alive that I feel pretty passionate about. Most people I meet who are my age have either never been to an opera or they have been once and they barely remember their experience,” said Joynt, adding The Magic Flute is a great start for those who are new to opera due to its famous music and wide range of voices.
“You just think about the size of the orchestra and how there are no microphones or amplification whatsoever. If you remove yourself from the fireworks that you might be used to at live performances and wrap your mind around what’s happening, I think that can really be interesting for someone who doesn’t know.”
The cast also includes soprano Simone Osborne, a Vancouver native who makes her POV debut as Pamina, tenor Adam Luther as Tamino, and baritone Justin Welsh as Papageno.
The Magic Flute takes place Feb. 16, 18 and 24 at 8 p.m., Feb. 22 at 7 p.m., and a matinee on Feb. 26 at 2:30 p.m. For info visit pov.bc.ca.