Patrons think Petite Opera's Sci-Fi "Magic Flute 3.0" is out of this world!

Catch the Aliens before they leave Park Ridge!

Petite Opera's
The Magic Flute 3.0 - A Space Opera  

The Queen of the Night enters via transporter beam
Only 3 performances left: Nov 20-22, 2015 

Petite Opera's new world premiere English translation and Science Fiction adaptation is a hit with Earthling audiences!
Starting with the overture (a back story to the aliens landing on Earth), audiences loved this new translation and all of its' fun cultural references.
Sci-Fi, aliens, Mozart, the North Woods and the CIA combine in this world premiere of a new Petite Opera English translation.  Sarastro and his alien community from Vekran are out in the galaxy promoting their cause.  They land on Earth to find Sarastro's exiled Rimulan wife, the Queen of the Night and her Borg-like Ladies trying to assimilate into North Woods USA, near Canada. Entitled trust-fund guy, Tamino, seeks to unite with the pair's daughter, Pamina.  Aided by simple hunter--Papageno--and Free Spirits from the intergalactic police force, they seek to find their loves, their balance, and escape evil.

"We saw Petite Opera's "Magic Flute 3.0 - A Space Opera" opening night, and it was fantastic!!!  We highly recommend everyone check it out.  The place was near capacity so I would suggest you get your tickets for the day you want to go as soon as possible!" --Don Popp

"It was just so fun!  With Star Wars coming back in a few months, this was a great way for me to get my fix of sci-fi and see an opera at the same time!"
--A New Patron


"Saw the production last night! Bravo! and Brava! Huge cast with huge talent. Thoroughly enjoyable evening. Costumes in this production are wonderful (is it wrong I want that silver jacket?) Hope you sell out every show!" --Roberta Meyer

"This production, with the Sci-Fi theme was really fun!  I'm sure I didn't catch all of the jokes, but my husband is a big Star Trek fan, and he got all of them!  The whole cast had tremendous voices."
--Sally Dornfeld

Don't miss it!  There are only three performances remaining!
FRIDAY November 20, 2015 at 7:30 PM
SATURDAY November 21, 2015 at 7:30 PM
SUNDAY November 22, 2015 at 4:00 PM  


Tickets are $27 for Adults (ages 18-61), $25 for Seniors (age 62 and up), 
 $15 for Students (K-college), and $5 for Preschool Children
Call 847-553-4442 or email us at to reserve your tickets for payment by cash or check at Box Office on performance date.
For credit card orders, visit our PURCHASE TICKETS page.

Please note: Reservations and Credit card orders accepted up to 4 hours prior to show time. A convenience fee is applied to all credit card orders at checkout.

Mary Wilson House Beyer Auditorium
part of St. Mary's Episcopal church campus
306 S Prospect Avenue at Crescent Avenue 
Park Ridge, IL  

Petite Opera Boldly Goes Sci-Fi with Mozart MAGIC FLUTE 3.0 - A SPACE OPERA

Petite Opera Boldly Goes where no Chicago Opera Company has gone before... Landing a bunch of space-faring aliens from the planet Vekran on Earth.

Yes, Petite Opera is taking "Magic Flute" into the Science-Fiction/Fantasy realm. It may sound far-fetched, but in relating the story of "Magic Flute" to modern audiences, the Science Fiction theme makes a lot of sense.

A typical portrayal of the
dragon and Tamino in modern
Case in point: In 1791, "The Magic Flute" by Mozart made its debut.  The characters were fantastical, the story written to appeal to the masses.  The story line hinted at the "secret society" of the Masons, with secret trials undertaken by Initiates. Tamino, the tenor, starts the opera by fighting a dragon.  The Queen's 3 Ladies use magic to kill the dragon. Thunder boomed to signal the beginning of the Queen of the Night's aria, and the villains, at the end, were magically "melted" in punishment of their evil ways. 

In short, the audience saw magic and magical characters. They saw things that weren't possible at their point in history.

Fast forward to the 20th century, where Arthur C. Clarke, one of the great British science fiction writers, said:

"Any technology, no matter how primitive, is magic to those who don't understand it."

In the 1960's, when "Star Trek" aired, there were no such things as "communicators".  Fast forward 30 years, and cell phones appeared, with the popular "flip phone" leading the way. All of these are highlights in the Petite Opera translation.

Central to Petite Opera's concept is the back story of the planet Vulcan, home of the character Spock on Gene Roddenberry's "Star Trek" .  All Vulcans were one people until they began to destroy each other and their planet.  That was when they divided into two peoples--the Vulcans, who endorsed following logic, reason, and emotional balance as means of enlightenment; and the Romulans, who followed a vengeful, warrior-like, emotionally-driven path. 

Vulcan, at the time of the Awakening
According to "Star Trek" legend, this occurred during the Time of the Awakening in Vulcan history. Innumerable movies have focused on the post-nuclear impacts, or devastating circumstances that changed the course of humanity, or people from other worlds.

Petite Opera's executive artistic team wanted to capture the same essence of magic and wonder for modern audiences, and focus on the tension and drama of driving our world into oblivion through out own desires.  It's world premier English translation pushes the envelope, where "Sci-Fi meets Mozart.  The team wanted an obscure setting to demonstrate the differences between aliens and humans on Earth, and the importance of learning from each other.

The setting selected: mythical North Woods USA, somewhere near the US-Canadian border. 

Susan Baushke,
Executive Director
Translation Team Member
"The greater the contrast in lifestyles, the greater the contrast in characters.  Our aliens are from a technological superior universe, while the "local yokels" in North Woods USA are used to a simple life.  The locals see that the aliens are different, but true to the "suspension of disbelief" in all theatrical performances, are amazed at--but very accepting of the alien's quirkiness," says Susan Baushke, Executive Director of Petite Opera, and a member of the translation team.

"We wanted to capture that magical essence, and pay tribute to Mozart, and all of the Science Fiction greats.  Sci-Fi has created some of the most beloved characters for current generations, and incredible creations.  They challenge us to be more than we are today," says Baushke.  "We saw the original plot of Magic Flute as taking on aspects of the team's Sci-Fi fantasy influences: Roddenberry's Star Trek universe, Lucas's Star Wars universe, a little bit of Total Recall, GalaxyQuest, and a whole host of others."
Petite Opera's translation brings
a Flute Spaceship to Earth
In this, the year of a new installment of George Lucas' Star Wars universe will air, the timing is superb to give audiences a taste of Sci-Fi once again.

So why are the aliens on Earth?  In this version, Sarastro leads a large variety of alien races on a mission to recruit more members to their cause:  providing objective, logical thinking that replaces vengeance and desires to destroy.  The alien community fled their planet, Vekran, when it was destroyed through inter-racial war.

The production has its share of drama, and of course, lots of comedy.

"Papageno is the  central character of the piece, in my opinion. He is fully present and n the now and appreciates and enjoys the simple pleasures of life.  He embodies the "everyday Joe", so the audience easily connects with him.  In our translation, we aimed to modernize his speech while staying trues to his simplicity and earnestness, " says Cathy Dunn, Stage Director for the production.  
Cathy Dunn,
Stage Director
Translation Team Member

The team also beefed up the influence of some characters, and gave the characters a more three-dimensional presence.  For instance, Sarastro (an objective, logical Vekran) and the Queen of the Night (a vengeful Rimulan) were married, and are now estranged.  Pamina is their daughter (and shows personality features of both alien races), and her inner turmoil is greater as a result.

The Queen's Three Ladies each have very distinct alien personalities, while also becoming "group/hive/herd/Borg" telepathic transmitters of the Queen's instructions.

"I find this version really fun to direct," says Cathy Dunn.  This production marks her fifth interpretation of the production and bringing it to audiences.  "It is just so much fun, and the Sci-Fi nature of it explains so many of the original plot elements... things just fall naturally into place."
Nathan Oakes,
Translation Team Member

"Tamino is always the 'heroic tenor', but we decided to give him a bit more dimension," says Nathan Oakes, a translation team member, and professed Sci-Fi lover, who is also one of the performers playing the role.  "In this version, Tamino is an entitled, selfish, trust-fund socialite from the big city.  Women were just conquests to him before.  But he turns a major corner when he falls for Pamina.  Here is someone he can truly love."

Papageno's love interest is Papagena.  In the original, she has a small part.  Here, she has a more active role as an undercover CIA agent, in love with Papageno, and willing to make a deal with the aliens to get him.

"Oh, she's fascinated by the aliens... rather like a Skully from X-Files.  But she splits her time between trying to make Papageno notice her, and tracking activity in the alien," says Baushke.  "Papagena is the only human that knows the aliens are aliens and what's going on.  It makes it interesting to see the by-play between all of the characters, with her being "in the know" and everyone else just reacting to things as they come."

Steven Arvanites,
Director of Production
Translation Team Member
The Petite Opera translation team started by translating the original German into English,then created its modern-day character palette, setting and vocabularies of its characters.  "We then made certain that the characters' mannerisms and vocabularies matched the vocal line of the music and that all of the vowels and emphases were correctly placed," said Steven Arvanites, Director of Production, and member of the translation team. 

Homer Guillen
Translation Team Member
"Being a writer, but not an opera singer, I found the process of creating the translation fascinating," says Homer Guillen, a translation team member.  "The nuances of how certain words must be placed to be sing-able within the performer's vocal range, and still understood and representative of the character, well, it's much more exacting that one would think.  We really agonized over some word choices. And, we also had a lot of fun pulling in a lot of popular cultural references!"

In parting, we encourage our patrons to count all of the popular sci-fi references throughout the show.  See how many you come up with! And enjoy this jewel by Mozart set with a sci-fi twist.

May the force within you allow you to live long and prosper--make it so!

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Tickets are $27 for Adults (ages 18-61), $25 for Seniors (age 62 and up), 
 $15 for Students (K-college), and $5 for Preschool Children
Call 847-553-4442 or email us at to reserve your tickets for payment by cash or check at Box Office on performance date.
For credit card orders, visit our PURCHASE TICKETS page.

Please note: Reservations and Credit card orders accepted up to 4 hours prior to show time. A convenience fee is applied to all credit card orders at checkout.

Petite Opera Sci-Fi MAGIC FLUTE Cast Announced


Plan to join Petite Opera for an out-of-this-world experience

The Magic Flute 3.0 - A Space Opera

November 7-22, 2015
Director of Production:  Steven Arvanites
 Stage Director:  Cathleen Dunn
Assistant Directors:  Rachel Sparrow, Nathan Oakes
Musical Director: Cody Michael Bradley
Costume/Makeup Design/Execution: Sienna Kusek, Cheryl Newman
Scenic Design/Execution: Miguel Lopez-Lemus        
Lighting Design/Execution: Betsy Sklena, Greykell Dutton
Audio & Special Effects:  Steven Arvanites, Nathan Oakes
Properties:  Mary Govertsen, Nancy Evans
Marketing:  Susan Baushke
Noah Gartner, Douglas Balkin
Nathan Oakes, Brett Potts
Kelsey Betzelberger, Bethany Brautigam
 Queen of the Night
Kate Comegys, Rachel Sparrow
David Govertsen, Peter Morgan
 First Lady
Mary Govertsen, Diana Stoic
Second Lady
Katherine Dalin, Sara Litchfield
 Third Lady
 Suzanne Rovani, JulieAnn Zavala
David Fair, Jonathan Wilson
Susan Baushke, Kristen Bigham
 First Free Spirit
Carly Meyer, Emily Montelongo
Second Free Spirit
Tess Dinerstein, Tessa Newman
 Third Free Spirit
Kaia Ebel, Paul Murphy-Gartner
 Old Priest
Aaron Bolden
 Homer Guillen
 First Guardsman    
David Fair, Jonathan Wilson
 Second Guardsman
Aaron Bolden
Chorus of Humans, Aliens and Creatures
Aaron Bolden, Erin Carney,  Tess Dinerstein, Kaia Ebel, David Fair, Anne Gartner, Michael Hanson, Austin Illenberg, Bailey Kapel, Carly Meyer, Emily Montelongo, Paul Murphy-Gartner, Tessa Newman, Alexandra Plattos, Carly Swanson, Sara Wheeler, Jonathan Wilson

SAT Nov 7, 2015, 7:30 PM
SUN Nov 8, 2015, 4:00 PM
FRI Nov 13, 2015, 7:30 PM
SAT Nov 14, 2015, 7:30 PM
SUN Nov 15, 2015, 4:00 PM
FRI Nov 20, 2015, 7:30 PM
SAT Nov 21, 2015, 7:30 PM
SUN Nov 22, 2015, 4:00 PM
Questions? Email us at

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Tickets are $27 for Adults (ages 18-61), $25 for Seniors (age 62 and up), 
 $15 for Students (K-college), and $5 for Preschool Children

Call 847-553-4442 or email us at to reserve your tickets for payment by cash or check at Box Office on performance date.
For credit card orders, visit our PURCHASE TICKETS page.

Please note: Credit card orders accepted up to 4 hours prior to show time.
A convenience fee is applied to all credit card orders at checkout.

Petite Opera Brundibár A Moving Experience for Patrons

by Susan Baushke, Executive Director
Sir Nicholas Winton
It's been almost a year now, but it seems like yesterday.  Petite Opera was proud to bring this event to Chicagoland, and we hope the spirit of it continues to live on.  
This post is dedicated to the outstanding spirit and dedication of Sir Nicholas Winton who passed away July 1, 2015 at the age of 106.  He helped arrange for transports for children from Terezin and helped them find adopted homes in Britain.  His daughter, Barbara Winton, spoke at our November 15, 2014 performance. of Brundibár. Sir Nicholas--your spirit lives on in the lives you saved, and the lives you touched.

Daffodils have the appearance of the Jewish star.
With their faces shining up toward heaven, they
remind us of the children whose lives were lost
during the Holocaust.
From the moment we cast Brundibár with 20 Chicago-area children, and received word that Ela Weissberger, (the Holocaust survivor who played the Cat in the original production in Terezin), had agreed to join us for nearly the entire month of November, speaking and appearing in in our eight performances, the Petite Opera family was in high gear.  We wanted to make certain that we offered an incredible opportunity for children to perform in an opera, and to become part of living history.  We wanted to share Ela's story and help her remember her friends lost to the Holocaust, and we wanted to elevate the importance of this important work in a way that would truly touch patrons.

With the help of an incredible group of volunteers, some key donors, devoted media team, staff, crew and cast, the countless hours paid off.  The media saw the the significance of the work, and spread the word like wildfire.  

Chicago Tribune, Barbara Brotman
WGN-TV, Amy Rutledge
Chicago Tribune, Brian Cox
WNPR, Cheryl Corley

Patrons called their friends, and attended in groups from faith communities and schools. Inter-generational families, families with young children poured in, each hoping to connect to the story and to hear Ela, to hear her story personally as one of the few remaining Holocaust survivors, and last living cast member. We wanted to reach new opera-goers, and expose as many people as possible to this story, and this wonderful opera.  Over 85% of those in the audience saw Brundibár for the first time.  Many of those counted Brundibár as their first-ever opera experience. 

Touching, yes, Memorable, yes.  A high percentage of every audience sought out Petite Opera staff, thanking us for putting on this production that touched them so deeply.  There were standing ovations, tears, and warm hugs after each performance--often from those who had been total strangers before the performance.

Patrons have been writing us about their experiences, and have agreed to let us share them with you.  Several are shown below.  These are just as sampling of those we received:

Dear Petite Opera,

I read about Petite Opera and its production of Brundibar in Barbara Brotman’s Nov 3 Tribune story.  Lucky for me that I did.  Upon reading her column, I immediately jumped online to purchase two tickets for what sounded like a special experience.  

I attended your November 21 performance. and am writing to congratulate you on producing such a magnificent Experience.  

Everything about yesterday evening was extraordinary - and moving.  The venue and its interior layout and design (evoking the space at Terezin where Brundibar was performed), the remarks by your Petite Opera Executive Director, the children’s performance (extraordinary!), the music (outstanding) and of course, hearing from Ela Stein Weissberger, an original cast member and an eyewitness to Brundibar’s history and the entire, horrifying context in which it was conceived and produced.  

Even your intermission was so beautifully choreographed.  

I found the whole evening quite moving.  

Thank you for everything you are doing to assure young people are exposed to opera.  And thank you for presenting Brundibar, a uniquely important work, in such a respectful, fulfilling and beautifully educational way.  

Susan Missner 
Dear Petite Opera,
Congratulations on your recent production of Brundibar. The young cast was superb, beautifully trained and prepared for an extremely difficult musical and emotional challenge.  Your work toward educating your audience on a story of  the Holocaust that is not well known was outstanding.  Including Ela Weissberger was a gift to your audience.  I have a Masters in Music and love the opera, and I was impressed by the quality of the performance.  Also, the violinist and pianist were superb.  

I was drawn to the performance through the notice on the Illinois Holocaust Website.  Currently, I am a minister and hold a Doctorate in Religious Education, centered on the creative process.  At the time of the performance, I was delivering a paper on Terezin at the Religious Educators Conference, being held in Oakbrook.   Brundibar  was a key part of the paper.  You cannot imagine how meaningful the performance was for me. 

I wanted to let you know that the work you are doing has deep and lasting implications and I am grateful for your contribution to the arts.

With best wishes for continued success.
Rev. Dr. Barbara B. Javore

Petite Opera wanted to touch lives with this moving story.  From the patron comments we received, we're proud to have done so.  We also wanted to encourage young performers in opera.  Again, we're proud to say that many of our young Brundibár performers have returned for our November 2015 production.

We want to keep touching lives in our communities.  Whether it be through laughter or tears, we hope that individuals touched by Brundibár will continue to call Petite Opera their home, and join us in new experiences.