Thousands of students are about to experience the magic of opera for the first time. What can they expect? To start, there is Mozart’s exquisite music, a soprano singing stratospheric high notes and even an evil villain dressed as a hot dog.
Welcome to The Magic Dream, LA Opera’s retelling of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. The production is currently touring performing arts venues around Los Angeles and introduces kids to the magic of opera (and laughter).
We caught up with Jasmine Mangal, an LA Opera Teaching Artist performing in The Magic Dream, on which it’s like to be living her dream as a singer.
LA OPERA: Did you always know you wanted to be an opera singer?
JASMINE MANGAL: No! I was really more of a pop/contemporary singer and much more of a dancer. Then somewhere around my 3rd year of college, my voice teacher said, “You know Jasmine, you could really have a career in opera.” And I just looked at her and said “No.” But after a little while, I realized I loved opera, so I switched my major. And here I am.
LAO: How did you get involved with LA Opera?
JM: My best friend, Jose Luis Maldonado, is a tenor who studies opera. He introduced me to LA Opera’s College Advisory Committee (CAC). Through that I got to know the people who worked at LA Opera and to see so many productions. CAC provided a lot of exposure to opera and learning about the art form. Watching the performers onstage at the Dorothy Chandler was so inspiring. Especially the sopranos (like me), they’re so strong and dominant yet so graceful and they sweep across the stage. I saw them and I thought, “I want to do that.”
LAO: Tell us about The Magic Dream.
JM: It is so much fun. We’re all running around on stage and being silly; it’s very high energy. After rehearsal, it is usually nap time. But we still focus on having that operatic sound. The whole purpose is to say to the kids, “Hey, opera is here and it’s cool.”
LAO: What are you most looking forward to during the tour?
JM: Meeting the kids. That’s the cool stuff, to really empower future generations so they know their dreams can come true. I remember being a kid in school and going to see a show. And I don’t remember who was in it or even what show it was! But I do remember walking out and thinking, “That was so cool. I want to do that.”
Tickets are now on-sale for The Magic Dream. The performances run Jan. 26 and Feb. 2.LA Opera is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the greater good.