Bass Jóhann Schram Reed as Sarastro provided the other focus of this segment of the opera, and both of his arias aptly radiated the calm gravitas of his magisterial status in the opera. I particularly appreciated the rich sonority of “O Isis und Osiris” as well as his graceful delivery of “In diesen heilgen Hallen,” supported by aptly dulcet chords from the orchestra. The short duet sung by his two priest-assistants, tenor Jamie Sanderson and baritone William Fishwick, gave a bright edge to their Masonic-inspired, misogynist warning delivered to the opera’s protagonists Tamino (Andy Zimmerman) and Papageno (Luke Harnish) about the wiles of women.
The Three Ladies from the first act, Michele Navarro-Currenti, Claire Cooper, and Natalie Lewis, made their ghostly visitation to Zimmerman and Harnish, and their resultant quintet with them bristled with the vibrant energy this female trio so readily conjures. As the bothersome Monostatos, tenor Mason McDermaid carried off his aria “Alles fühlt der Liebe” with confident cheer, although his character strikes me as a villain from another opera who has wandered into The Magic Flute by accident. Under the direction of Peter Kozma, the Opera NEO orchestra opened this episode with a well-paced, lyrical account of the “March of the Priests,” one of those sparkling gems of perfection Mozart turned out simply to set a scene where most composers would toss off a few succinct but utterly forgettable measures.
This episode, along with the first two episodes of The Magic Flute, are currently available on the Opera NEO website. Reviews of the first two episodes: