Behind the Scenes

News from the Dramaturg

Posted by Emma McFarland at 11:08PM   |  1 comment


     Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is one of the most creative, prolific, and influential composers of all time. Born in Salzburg, Austria in 1756, Mozart showed promise as a musician from an early age. His father, Leopold, was a musician and began teaching Mozart piano very early on. Mozart began writing music when he was only five years old and would go on to write over 600 works in his lifetime. Throughout his early years, Mozart, accompanied by his father, traveled around Europe playing for ambassadors, noblemen, and rulers of many countries. 

     Mozart's first opera Mitridate Re di Ponto was completed in 1770 when Mozart was only fourteen years old. Over the course of his career, Mozart composed 17 operas including: The Marriage of FigaroDon Giovanni, and, of course, The Magic Flute

     After marrying Constanze Weber in 1782, Mozart continued composing and performing. Constanze and Mozart would have six children although only two would survive past infancy. 

     In December of 1784, Mozart was initiated into the "Zur Wohlthӓtigkeit" Masonic lodge in Vienna. Masonic teachings and themes would become substantial influences on Mozart's music. The Magic Flute has been interpreted by many as an opera rich with masonic themes. A future post will discuss masonic themes in The Magic Flute in more depth. 

     The Magic Flute was composed in 1791 and is one of Mozart's better known works. It opened to rave reviews in Vienna and had successful runs in other European cities. Only a few months after the premiere, Mozart became ill. Mozart had had several serious illnesses during his childhood and had been ill on and off throughout his adult life. In December of the same year that The Magic Flute premiered, Mozart died at the age of 35. Despite dying so young, Mozart was able to create an astounding amount of music and has had an incredible amount of influence on all the composers who have come after him. 

If you are interested in learning more about Mozart's life and music, the links below provide excellent information for all ages.


Mozart by Maynard Solomon

The Mozart Project by Steve Boerner



Posted by Paula Clarkson at 8:54PM   |  Add a comment
Drawing of Tamino in The Magic Flute

                   The Magic Flute is a beautiful story of the journey from dark to light, loneliness to love, and naivety to enlightenment. This magnificent opera, composed by Mozart in the year 1791, is flushed with allegories, Masonic themes, enlightenment philosophy, and inspiring storylines about taking control of your own fate and overcoming life’s obstacles.

                In the next few weeks we will do our best to explore and explain these various extremely complex aspects of The Magic Flute, in the hopes that it will both expand your knowledge of the historical importance it holds, as well as the timeless lessons that it can teach all of us.


                Welcome aboard, and be sure to get your tickets before they are gone!


Performances are as follows:


February 22



February 24



February 26* 



February 28



March 1



March 3


 *This performance will be followed by a brief talkback



Your Dramaturgs,

Paula Clarkson and Emma McFarland

Posted by Kristen Joyce at 11:46AM   |  Add a comment
A group hug before a rehearsal.

The first piece worked on was “Momentum.”  To build trust and connection between partners in the dance, choreographer Amy  O’Brien had each pair do improv.  Following that, Amy would give a move, and each partner pair would try it and add their own flair.  Amy then picked her favorites and placed each set of dancers.  When Amy taught her choreography, the group would play with it until they figured out something that worked.

The second rehearsal was for “Once Upon A Time.”  Like “Momentum,” Amy started with some animal improv. She would take people’s improvisations and create set choreography from specific moves and character tics.  If something felt wrong or unnatural, Amy and the dancers work to find something that is more comfortable.

It’s very interesting to watch the discussion between Amy and Grant Carey, the composer, as they decide what sounds to place with which dances, and what should follow the progession of the music. 

Sometimes Amy even likes to throw in a pretend French accent! She also occasionally uses sound effects to describe the feel of the movements she wants. 

Posted by Morgan Goldstein at 1:50PM   |  Add a comment
Max Grossman, one of the Assistant Conductors for "The Light in the Piazza."

 Tech week for The Light in the Piazza is well underway - the first full run through (with lights, sets, costumes, music, etc.) is tonight!  One of my favorite things about The Light in the Piazza is the music.  To put it simply, it's gorgeous.  I spoke to Max Grossman, one of our Assistant Conductors, about the experience of working on Piazza (especially its music), and here's what he had to say:


By the way, other than a sitzprobe (sing-through) last week, tonight's run through will be the first time the cast will perform the show with a full orchestra.  Up until now, they've worked with only a piano, and this orchestra is no small matter - it has a full string section and even a bassoon.  Tonight's rehearsal is guaranteed to be an amazing experience, and I'm looking forward to hearing the complete sound of the show.


Posted by Morgan Goldstein at 2:40PM   |  Add a comment
A student carpenter builds the set for Ithaca College's "The Light in the Piazza."

 Now that Plumfield, Iraq has closed what was a spectacular run, the fall musical, Adam Guettel's The Light in the Piazza, is in full swing.  Although Ithaca College students are currently enjoying their fall break, the production team for Piazza is putting the finishing touches on the set, lights, costumes, and sound in preparation for "Tech Week" Although the cast of The Light in the Piazza has been rehearsing for seven weeks, they have been doing so in a rehearsal hall, and with rehearsal props, costumes and set pieces.  Tech Week is the time when the cast and crew transfer the show from the rehearsal studio to the performance space and coordinate all the various elements of a show - acting, music, set, props, costumes, etc. - to create a complete production.  In honor of this experience, these next few blog posts will give you a behind-the-scenes look at the various people involved with The Light in the Piazza - who they are, what they do, and how they all work together to create what Guettel, in his lyrics, calls "a city of statues and stories."

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