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October 13, 2016

October 13, 14, 15 (matinee)


October 13 – Thursday

6:30 pmPre-performance talk by J. Scott Morrison
Memorial Baptist Church

7:30 pmThe Magic Flute Opening Night and Post-Performance Reception with Q&A session with singers, Maestro Jeffrey Rink and Director Douglas Anderson 
Town Hall Theater

October 14-Friday

1 pm – Special student performance:The Magic Flute
Town Hall Theater

October 14 – Friday

6:30 pm – Pre-performance talk by Douglas Anderson
Memorial Baptist Church

7:30 pm – The Magic Flute. Post-Performance Q&A session with singers, Maestro Jeffrey Rink and Director Douglas Anderson
Town Hall Theater

October 15 – Saturday, Matinee

1 pm – Pre-performance talk with Maestro Jeffrey Rink
Memorial Baptist Church

2 pm – The Magic Flute
Town Hall Theater

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Main Cast

a Prince
Bray Wilkins
daughter of the Queen of the Night
Sarah Cullins
a Bird-Catcher
Jonathan Z. Harris
Papageno’s love
Bevin Hill
Queen of the
Suzanne Rigden
a High Priest
Branch Fields
Sarastro’s servant
Brad Raymond
Three Ladies,
servants of the
Queen of the Night:
First Lady Amal
Second Lady Anna Bridgman
Third Lady Sara Petrocelli



Bray WilkinsBray Wilkins (Tamino) is ecstatic to be returning to his favorite singing destination here with OCM. Wilkins premiered with the company singing the role of Lensky in Eugene Onegin, and has returned to sing Pong in Turandot, and Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas. Mr. Wilkins has had the privilege to sing professionally all over the country. Some of his roles include The Duke of Mantua (Rigoletto), Rinuccio (Gianni Schicci), Nemorino (L’elisir d’amore), Fenton (Falstaff), Ferrando (Così fan tutti), Lysander (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Frederic (Pirates of Penzance), Scaramuccio (Ariadne auf Naxos), Normano (Lucia di Lammermoor), Charlie (Mahagonny Songspiel), Michah (Slow Dusk), Luigi (A Wedding), title role in The Bricklayer, and Mr. Clayton (Séance On a Wet Afternoon). Along with opera, Wilkins performs frequently in both Concert repertory and Musical Theatre genres. His greatest accomplishments include somehow convincing his incredibly talented and beautiful wife, Kajsa, to marry him, and having two amazing kids, Hobbes and Madeline. 

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Sarah CullinsSoprano Sarah Cullins (Pamina) divides her time between performing opera, oratorio and symphonic works, as well as singing Latin American and Spanish repertoire as a member of the 8 Cuerdas duo and The Piazzolla Project quartet. While living in Bogota, Colombia for 10 years, she was a frequent soloist with the country’s major orchestras and opera companies, performing the roles of Gilda in Rigoletto, Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Adèle in Die Fledermaus and Musetta in La Bohème. She also founded and led the voice and opera program at the Universidad Central, now nationally renowned. Since returning to her native Vermont in 2013, Sarah sang the role of Edith in the Vermont tour of Eric Nielson’s opera, A Fleeting Animal, and is thrilled to now be involved in her 5th production with the Opera Company of Middlebury! She is on the voice faculty of the University of Vermont and maintains a private studio in Burlington. 
Website: or


Jonathan Harris cropped v3Jonathan Z. Harris (Papageno) is thrilled to return to the Opera Company of Middlebury where he was last seen in 2013 as Zaretsky in Eugene Onegin. He is a New Orleans native based in Ann Arbor, Michigan and a two-time Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Jonathan has been an Apprentice Artist with Chautauqua Opera, where he was seen as Pistola in Falstaff and Hobson in Peter Grimes; Opera Saratoga; and for the last two summers, Des Moines Metro Opera. He holds a BA in Theatre Arts from Brown University and an MM from the University of Michigan, where mainstage assignments have included Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte, Warden George Benton in Dead Man Walking, and Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia. Other roles include Simone in Gianni Schicchi with PORTopera and Dottore Grenvil in La traviata and Assan in The Consul with Dicapo Opera.


Bevin HillSoprano Bevin Hill (Papagena) is gaining attention as a performer of great charm and charisma in a variety of leading roles.  Particularly cherished for her comedic gifts, Ms. Hill has memorably been lauded as a “rubber-kneed goddess of slapstick.”  She enjoys a strong relationship with Vermont’s Opera Company of Middlebury, where she most recently performed Belinda in their 2015 production of Dido and Aeneas.  Her other appearances with the company include Opera Company of Middlebury’s 10th Anniversary Concert, Léïla in Les pêcheurs de perles, and Lisette in La rondine, a performance which earned her praise for her “comedic timing and glorious voice.”  An alumna of young artist residencies with opera companies throughout the United States, Ms. Hill has fulfilled residencies with Opera Iowa, Des Moines Metro Opera, Arizona Opera, Opera Saratoga, and Dicapo Opera Theatre.

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Suzanne Rigden color croppedSoprano Suzanne Rigden (Queen of the Night) is making her mark on stages for her “remarkable gift for stratospheric coloratura” and witty “comic genius.” Highly acclaimed for roles with Montreal Opera, Vancouver Opera, Pacific Opera Victoria, and Merola Opera Center in San Francisco. Opera World when speaking of her Adele in Die Fledermaus noted “her effervescent approach and her strong and confident singing in the most difficult coloratura parts.” Recently Suzanne performed a Viennese New Years concert with Victoria Symphony, Titania in Midsummer Night’s Dream with Pacific Opera Victoria, Mabel in Pirates of Penzance with Drayton Entertainment concerts on mountain tops of B.C. with noncerto, and with Tanglewood Music Festival. Suzanne took First Place at the Carolyn Bailey and Dominick Argento Vocal Competition for the National Opera Association and won first in the women’s division and audience choice in Spazio Musica competition in Orvieto, Italy. She has been supported by the Sylva Gelber Music Foundation grant for this season. Suzanne is very excited to be returning to Middlebury.


Headshot Fields croppedBranch Fields (Sarastro) made his debut with OCM as Palémon in Thaïs in 2012. In one 

of the most surprising turn of events in his career, the Artistic Director of Ogunquit Playhouse traveled to Middlebury to audition him, during Thaïs rehearsals, looking for a last-minute substitute for Emile de Becque in South Pacific. After a nearly hour-long audition at Town Hall Theater, he landed the role! With Mr. Fields as their leading man, South Pacific was a summer smash. Mr. Fields was later nominated for Best Actor in a Musical by Broadway World and IRNE. Mr. Fields was one of four OCM alums in the benefit concert celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Company in 2013. Recent: Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance at Amarillo Opera in May, and Col. Looseleaf Harper in Happy Birthday, Wanda June at Indianapolis Opera in Sept. Upcoming is Monterone in Rigoletto at Opera in Williamsburg, and William Dale in Silent Night at Opera San Jose.


Brad Raymond croppedBrad Raymond (Monostatos) has been an Emerging Artist with Boston Lyric Opera since 2014. He recently appeared in Candide with Glimmerglass Opera, Eugene Onegin with Opera Company of Middlebury, Manon Lescaut with Chautauqua Opera, and Amahl and the Night Visitors with Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. His opera credits also include Opera Saratoga, Aspen Opera Theater, and Columbus Opera. In December, he will perform the role of the Governor in Candide in his European debut with Opera Theater Toulouse and Bordeaux Opera. Raymond has also won prizes in numerous singing competitions, including First Prize in the National Opera Association Regional Competition, a Semi-finalist in the Joy in Sing Competition, Second place in the Fielder Grant Competition, a Finalist in the Merola Opera Program Auditions, numerous First Place awards in both district and regional National Association for the Teachers of Singing competitions, a Full Scholarship to tour Austria as a soloist for the Irving Chorale, and the award for Best Male Vocalist in the City of Austin as named by the Austin Critics’ Table for the title role in Albert Herring.

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YA El-Shrafi cropHailed by the Boston Musical Intelligencer as “shining through with a strength and power that matched her character’s presence onstage,” soprano Amal El-Shrafi (First Lady) is now an up-and-coming performer across the country. This past season, Ms. El-Shrafi made her mainstage debut as Nedda in I Pagliacci with Mobile Opera, performed as an Apprentice Artist with Sarasota Opera and returned to OCM as an Apparition in Verdi’s Macbeth. She has been a two-time New England Regional Finalist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, placed as a national semi-finalist in the Classical Singer Competition and most recently, placed as an international semi-finalist in the prestigious Deborah Voigt/Vero Beach Opera Vocal Competition. This season, Ms. El-Shrafi is excited to return to Vermont for her 3rd production with the company and will then travel back to her alma mater, The University of New Hampshire, to present a lecture recital and Masterclass to current vocal majors.


Anna Bridgman ver2 smallSoprano Anna Bridgman (Second Lady) recently appeared as Mrs. Gobineau in The Medium and covered the role of Micaëla in Carmen with PORTopera. Other roles include Countess Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Violetta Valéry (La traviata), Anne Trulove (The Rake’s Progress), Susannah Polk (Susannah), Lady Billows (Albert Herring), Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), and Hanna Glawari (The Merry Widow). Ms. Bridgman has performed with PORTopera, Boston Conservatory Opera, Opera Company of Middlebury, Seagle Music Colony, and the University of Missouri-Columbia. Anna received an Encouragement Award in the 2015 Kansas City District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and won the Music Teacher’s National Association Young Artist Vocal Competition in 2014. Anna holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and a Master of Music in Opera Performance from The Boston Conservatory. Having been a part of Turandot and Macbeth, Anna is thrilled to be back in the beautiful state of Vermont for her third production with OCM.


Sarah PetrocelliSara Louise Petrocelli (Third Lady), mezzo soprano from New Jersey, was last seen on stage in Middlebury as Dido in Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas. This is her fourth collaboration with OCM since first appearing in 2009 in Bizet’s Pearl Fishers. Recent engagements include Beppe in Mascagni’s L’Amico Fritz with Winter Opera St. Louis and the title role in Carmen with Western Plains Opera. Sara was a District Winner in the 2012 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and is a repeat guest soloist on the Metropolitan Opera Guild’s Masterly Singing Series. 2016-2017 will be her fourth season on the roster of the Metropolitan Opera Chorus. Sara is represented by MIA Artist Management. Website:

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Background of The Magic Flute

The Magic Flute was premiered only 10 weeks before Mozart’s death at age 35 in 1791. And yet he managed to write another opera, La Clemenza di Tito,, during the same time period. Magic Flute has a confusing plot, largely because we are more than two hundred years beyond its time and what made sense then (for instance, insistent references to freemasonry, a hot topic in 1791) are simply puzzling for us. But its fanciful characters and magnificent music have delighted audiences nonetheless through the years. This production, with an English libretto by Andrew Porter, has been shortened a bit and lightened considerably with the result that it is delightful for young and old alike.

Cast of Characters

Tamino, a prince – tenor

Pamina, daughter of the Queen of the Night – soprano

Queen of the Night – soprano

Sarastro, a high priest – bass

Papageno, a bird-catcher – baritone

Papagena, Papageno’s love – soprano

Monastatos, Sarastro’s servant – tenor

Three Ladies, servants of the Queen of the Night – soprano, soprano, mezzo

The Magic Flute Synopsis

Act 1

Prince Tamino is attacked by a monster, but three ladies who are the servants of the Queen of the Night save him. The ladies show him a portrait of the Queen’s daughter, Pamina, and Tamino falls in love with her. The Queen of the Night promises her daughter to him, if he can rescue Pamina who is enslaved by the evil Sarastro. Tamino decides to rescue her, and is given a magic flute by the three ladies. Papageno, a bird catcher, appears and follows Tamino. He is given magic bells by the ladies. By the power of the magic flute and bells, Tamino finally gets to meet Pamina. They fall in love with each other immediately. It turns out, however, that Sarastro is not an evil man, but a wise and kindly priest. He has protected Pamina from her mother who is filled with ambition to dominate the world.

Act 2

Sarastro imposes three tests for Tamino in order to win Pamina. The first test is “Silence.” When Tamino falls silent, Pamina, who knows nothing about this test, feels deep sadness when he won’t talk to her, but she somehow knows they can endure this test. The second test is “Fire,” and the third test is “Water.” They can overcome these tests through the power of the magic flute. Papageno is also tested in order to get his unseen lover. But he fails. However, he does meet his lover, Papagena, through the power of the magic bells. They fall in love. When she learns Pamina has fallen in love with Tamino, the Queen of the Night is furious. She tries to break into the temple of Sarastro to break them up but she is struck by a thunderbolt and killed. In the end, Sarastro blesses Tamino and Pamina for overcoming their tests. The opera ends with a hymn to the bliss of love.    

The Music

ScottMorrison-102Our own resident music expert, J. Scott Morrison, has compiled a list of his favorite recordings and videos of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. We hope you enjoy them.


Audio CD

Magic flute solti cdconducted by Georg Solti, Vienna State Opera, with Sumi Jo, Ruth Ziesak, Kurt Moll.


The Magic Flute conducted by Sir Colin Davis, Dresden Staatskapelle, with Luciana Serra, Margaret Price, Peter Schreier, Kurt Moll.



The Magic Flute,Colin Davis conducting, with Simon Keenlyside, Dorothea Roschmann, Diana Damrau – this is easily my favorite DVD of the opera. Keenlyside is the funniest Papageno I’ve ever seen, and Diana Damrau’s Queen of the Night sets a new standard for the part.

On YouTube

Queen of the Night’s aria Der Hölle Rache, sung by Diana Damrau.

Pamina’s aria, Ach, ich fuhl’s, sung by Dorothea Roschmann (no subtitles).

Papageno’s aria, Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen, sung by Simon Keenlyside.

Sarastro’s aria, In diesen Heil’gen, sung by René Pape.

Tamino’s aria, Dies Bildnis (in which he falls in love with a picture of Pamina), sung by Jonas Kaufmann (no subtitles).