Guest conductor returns to ‘Magic Flute’


Scott Schoonover has a long history with “The Magic Flute.”

“When I was in college, I played piano for the opera class, and that was one of the first operas I ever learned,” he said. “It’s kind of fun to go back to it now. Those things that you learn in college really stick in your head in a certain way differently than things that you learned later. It’s really fun to work with those again. I’ve conducted two productions of it. The last time was 2007.”

ND INDY OPERA 0502 Schoonover head shot

Schoonover, founder and artistic director of the Union Avenue Opera in St. Louis, is serving as the guest conductor for the Indianapolis Opera’s production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” May 5-7 at The Toby Theater at Newfields in Indianapolis.

This is the first time Schoonover has worked with Indianapolis Opera. However, Schoonover had worked with Indianapolis Opera General Manager David Starkey at Asheville (N.C.) Lyric Opera.

Schoonover said he likes the music and the story of “The Magic Flute.”

“It’s always interesting to see what different companies do with it,” Schoonover said. “The music is super accessible. It’s got a lot of drama, but it is also very beautiful and lyrical. It’s interesting, I think, for people who haven’t seen a lot of operas. There are songs, and then in between the songs, there are lines, which is a little different than most of the things that Mozart wrote, which was just all music up to that point.”

Schoonover said the songs are not long and the pieces are very different from one another.

“It presents a lot of different styles, and there’s really something for everybody in this particular opera,” he said. “There’s a lot of magic in the opera. I think it’s a really entertaining show.”

The songs will be performed in German and the lines will be spoken in English.

There are some big ensembles, particularly quintets.

“So, we have to focus a lot on style and a lot on things the same way,” Schoonover said.

Schoonover said his job is to get all the singers on the same page and the singers and orchestra working in sync.

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