Fine Art Students Experience the Magic of Mozart at LA Opera

Left to right: Amanda Fu, Rebecca Bryant, Alexander Sin and Sienna Blackwell pose "dressed to the nines" outside of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

Left to right: Amanda Fu, Rebecca Bryant, Alexander Sin and Sienna Blackwell pose “dressed to the nines” outside of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

Otis Fine Art students in Sophomore Seminar, a course taught by faculty and department chair Meg Cranston, attended the LA Opera production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute on February 24. The critically acclaimed production, which features a unique set design that artfully recreates the look of a silent film, was staged at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in downtown Los Angeles.

The seminar teaches the history of art, philosophy and culture.  Visits to cultural institutions such as the opera allow students to study the city first hand as well as learn about the historical context of important historical movements like the Enlightenment. Cranston explains that “Visual art, music and the performing arts are taught together. When we teach the Enlightenment, for example, we read texts by John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau and also experience works of art that, in both form and concept, carry those ideals. Mozart was surely an Enlightenment composer, but also one of its strongest critics. The Magic Flute, written as a fairy tale, offers a rather terrifying view of both the ancient regime and new social order of the late 18th century. The power of opera, and art in general, is to make all history, all experience immediate and vibrant.”

So Young Park as Queen of the Night. Photo by Craig T. Matthew/Courtesy of LA Opera.

So Young Park as Queen of the Night. Photo by Craig T. Matthew/Courtesy of LA Opera.

“When So Young Park playing the Queen of the Night, sang the famous ‘Revenge Aria’ with some of the highest notes required of any singer in any opera, I did not have to explain its meaning to the students. They could hear it in the music.”

According to Ms. Cranston, “The fantastic thing about being a metropolitan art school is the city serves as our extended classroom. Thanks to our friends at great Los Angeles institutions like the LA Opera, Otis Fine Arts students have access to some of the best visual and performing art being produced anywhere in the world. We are lucky!”

To prepare for the event, students were required to read several philosophic texts and be familiar with the history of the 18th century, the relationship of opera to classical theater, Mozart’s relationship to the Enlightenment, and the story of The Magic Flute.

“They arrived dressed to the nines. That was definitely a part of it, showing love and respect by wearing beautiful clothes. Beyond the music, I could tell  they just felt proud to be new members of the arts community–part of something amazing and beautiful; and not just as spectators, but as fellow artists.”

(Left to right) Michelle Sin, Emmanuelle Castellan and Darrah Matthews wait for the show to start.

(Left to right) Michelle Sin, Emmanuelle Castellan and Darrah Matthews wait for the show to start.



 

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