Jonathan Eaton, the new Margot and Bill Winspear Chair in Opera Studies, has had a successful career – directing performances both nationally and internationally for some of the most prestigious opera companies. From Dallas, to Chicago, to New York, San Francisco and San Diego, overseas to Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and France, this international opera director has spread his talents around the world. Now he’s bringing his unique perspective to the UNT College of Music to enrich North Texas with his operatic vision.
He does not shy away from current events and political issues, tackling them head-on. He recently commissioned and directed the world’s first eco-opera, “A New Kind of Fallout” – a story based on Pittsburgh’s Rachel Carson and her battle against DDT. And last year, he tackled the topic of social justice, commissioning a world premiere jazz/gospel opera about a white policeman shooting a black man in the street.
He plans to bring the same out-of-the-box thinking to his UNT directorial debut – Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” – at 8 p.m. Nov. 3 and 10 and 3 p.m. Nov. 5 and 12 in the Lyric Theater at the Murchison Performing Arts Center, with "In the Know" lectures 45 minutes before each performance. It will be sung in German with English supertitles. Eaton’s adaptation of the classic opera, in which the Queen of the Night persuades Prince Tamino to rescue her daughter, Pamina, from captivity, plays out as a mysterious, whimsical look at romantic relationships between men and women through a dream sequence.
“Tamino, our protagonist, dreams his whole way through a series of life-changing events and, at the end, it seems his dream becomes a reality,” Eaton said. “Does the girl who steals his heart in his dream steal her place into his bed?”
Costumes for the performance will be designed by international designer Danila Korogodsky, who presents a whole host of different characters in unique and sometimes psychedelic style. In a collaborative first, UNT Opera is partnering with the UNT Department of Dance and Theatre for the scenery, which will be designed by Donna Marquet.
“This is an opportunity to see what a brand new director and design team for opera in Denton will bring to this most charming and profound opera,” Eaton said. “I’d travel any distance in a heartbeat to see this production. And, when you get here, ‘The Magic Flute’ will transport you away.”
Tickets cost $15-$35 for adults, with discounts available for senior citizens; students; children; UNT faculty, staff and retirees; and groups of 10 or more. The $35 tickets include dessert and wine. Purchase tickets online or by calling the Murchison Box Office at 940-369-7802.
“Come early and enjoy a glass of wine with me and Stephen Dubberly, our music director, and hear us discuss the interpretation of the production and our ideas for UNT Opera’s new vision here and beyond,” Eaton said. “Then sit back and enjoy a great marvel of operatic literature.”