image title

ASU production of 'The Magic Flute' offers a night at the opera

ASU’s Lyric Opera Theatre says 'The Magic Flute' is an ideal opera for novices.
February 22, 2017

ASU's Lyric Opera Theatre prepares students for careers in opera and music production

If you think opera is an acquired taste, think again. ASU’s Lyric Opera TheatreThe Lyric Opera Theatre program in the School of Music is housed in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. says a new production of “The Magic Flute” is perfect for the novice palate.

“Most people hear the word ‘opera,’ and they get scared. The perception of opera is that it is sung by stuffy people with horns on their head that stand on stage and sing at people,” said Dale Dreyfoos, stage director and associate artistic director of Lyric Opera Theatre.

He added while that stereotype is still pervasive, “if you like musicals, you should like operas as well.”

Fighting that perception has been a lifelong battle for Dreyfoos, who began his performing career at the age of 10 in the Atlanta Boys Choir. A year later, he saw a performance of “The Magic Flute” and was “hooked on opera.”

Formed in 1964, Lyric Opera Theatre’s mission is to prepare opera and musical theatre artists for professional careers. Through individual and classroom instruction, the production of operas and musicals, student-led workshops and community engagement, ASU is working to help maintain the art form.

Hailed as one of Mozart’sWolfgang Amadeus Mozart died two months after it opened in September 1791. greatest musical masterpieces, the 200-year-old fairytale blends magic, mystery and humor with themes of love and good versus evil.

“It’s funny, fast-paced, full of surprises, plus the music is heavenly,” said Brian DeMaris, music director and artistic director of Lyric Opera Theatre. “The characters connect with the audience right away.”

The multi-media opera is double castThe opera is double cast to give students more opportunities and to fulfill their performance credits for their degree program., features more than 100 students and crew members, and runs nearly three hours.

“The Magic Flute” will be sung in German with English dialogue, and features “Der Holle Rache,” one of the most famous and ambitious arias in all of opera. Soprano Lauren Berman, who portrays the Queen of the Night, will perform the 2-minute vocal pyrotechnic on Friday and Sunday.

“It’s definitely a difficult aria,” said Berman, who is currently working on her doctorate in vocal performance. “I can tell if I haven’t had a good night’s sleep or have been over singing, because if I’m not at the top of my game, I can’t get through it. I’ve never had a role like this.”

The show also has its fair share of laughs, provided mostly by Papageno, a simple bird-catcher who yearns for a girlfriend and a glass of wine.

“Even though the story is close to 200 years old, the story, the issues and the characters are still the same as today,” said Nathan Haltiwanger, a first-year master’s student studying Opera Performance and one of two students who plays Papageno. “We feel we’ve made this opera more approachable in many ways.”

A lot of work goes into an opera production said Miriam Schildkret, a voice performance major who plays the Third Lady.

“If you’re not sweating at the end, you’re not doing it right,” Schildkret said.

“The Magic Flute” starts Thursday at Tempe’s Evelyn Smith Music Theatre and runs through Sunday. For more event information, including a link to buy tickets, click here.


Top photo: Sarastro's slave Monostatos, played by Ted Zimnicki, discloses his intention to force himself upon Pamina while she sleeps in ASU Lyric Opera Theatre's production of "The Magic Flute." Photo by Anya Magnuson/ASU Now.

Q&A: Creating an entrepreneurial mind-set

February 22, 2017

National Entrepreneurship Week and Phoenix Startup Week both kicked off Monday.

At ASU, entrepreneurship is a core value. The university’s Entrepreneurship + Innovation team is ready to work with faculty, staff, students and community members with mentorship opportunities, seed funding, office space, training and opportunities for collaboration at all stages from ideation to ready for market. Ji Mi Choi is ASU’s associate vice president of Entrepreneurship + Innovation Ji Mi Choi is ASU’s associate vice president of Entrepreneurship + Innovation. Download Full Image

Ji Mi Choi is ASU’s associate vice president of Entrepreneurship + Innovation.

Question: What is an entrepreneurial mind-set, and how does ASU help foster that mind-set?

Answer: At ASU, our goal is to be of service to students, faculty and our community. We aim to nurture an entrepreneurial mind-set, which means supporting the growth of curiosity, helping people build connections, and working to create value from ideas. ASU provides a wealth of opportunities to learn about entrepreneurship and innovation geared toward nearly any interest, idea or audience.

Q: If a faculty or staff member, student or member of the community has an idea, what ASU resources are available to them?  

A: A broad outline of programs and services can be found on our website at In addition, ASU offers a number of undergraduate and graduate entrepreneurial degree programs. A few examples of resources and programs include:

ASU Venture Devils, which supports student entrepreneurs who are launching ventures in a range of developmental stages.

The ASU Mentor Network is available to anyone at ASU or in the community with an idea interested in learning more about finance, marketing, legal operations and scaling, business development and sales, manufacturing and more.

We also offer programs like Prepped, for early-stage and emerging food businesses, and SparXX, for women beginning to explore entrepreneurship and business ownership.

Additional information about our various funding opportunities, programs and technology commercialization resources can be found online.

Q: Are regional resources available for entrepreneurs who live outside of Tempe?

A: Absolutely. Finding the right space to build ideas and get creative is important to aspiring entrepreneurs. Some of our spaces include the ASU Chandler Innovation Center, 1951@SkySong in Scottsdale, Changemaker Central, the Inno-NATIONS tribal business collision community, and mkrservices at Hayden Library in Tempe.

ASU Startup School, a self-paced online course, is another resource available for anyone interested in learning more about how to develop a successful venture. 

Leslie Minton

Media Relations Manager, Media Relations and Strategic Communications