PUBLISHED: 2:32 PM on Wednesday, January 31, 2007
'Arctic Magic Flute' tours across Alaska
Wolfgang Amadaus Mozart's classic fairy tale of a journey toward love gets an Alaskan interpretation in the Opera To GO! production of "Arctic Magic Flute," touring in select cities this February. The Juneau-based Opera to GO! was created 10 years ago with the mission of making opera more accessible to new generations of audiences, retells Mozart's Singspiel through the eyes and voices of an Arctic people.

In this new adaptation, Tamino and Pamina becomes a reflection of the experience of many Alaska Native youths who navigate the challenges of Western capitalist culture while trying to hold to the teachings and practices of their indigenous forefathers. Juneau artist Ryan Conarro directs. Together with artistic director Joyce Parry Moore, they created a unique adaptation from the perspective of youth in rural Arctic Alaska. Conarro trained at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts before moving to Nome to work for KNOM radio.

"The scope of this production reflects its theme: walking in two worlds. We're retelling a Western story in a rural Alaskan context," Conarro said. "We're bringing Alaska Native artists to work in an urban setting with other professionals from a variety of backgrounds. This production represents a journey in every sense of the word."

Mattox Metcalf, a St. Lawrence Island Yupik dancer for the Alaska Native Heritage Center, performs the original role of the 'Storyteller.' Metcalf is originally from Nome and Savoonga. In the production, he teaches the lessons of the story to Juneau-based Tlingit youth Levi Rinehart, who portrays the 'Boy.'

Parry-Moore, founder and artistic director of Opera to GO!, completed her masters' training in opera at the Boston Conservatory, and then performed extensively on the east coast, before coming to Alaska in 1994.

Critically acclaimed baritone Roberto Perlas-Gomez plays Sarastro, the elder figure who guides Tamino and Pamina to their understanding and acceptance of traditional values.

Mark Kratz plays Tamino in "Arctic Magic Flute," coming to Alaska from Pennsylvania after performing on the East Coast and earning his master's in vocal performance at SUNY-Binghamton. The production team includes music director Todd Hunt from Berlin, Germany; Alaska Native artist Jonella Larson as mask designer; Anchorage visual artist Sheila Wyne designing sets; Juneau costume designer Marilyn Wright; and Boston-based lighting designer and technical director Calvin Anderson.

"Arctic Magic Flute" opens Feb. 8, in Juneau at Centennial Hall and runs Feb. 9 and 11. The production tours Feb. 12-18, to Anchorage, Nome, and Kotzebue.