by Corbie Hill
The Magic Flute
If we view opera as the popular entertainment of its time, then Mozart's The Magic Flute seems almost contemporary. Many of the parts were written specifically for the people who would sing them - not all that different from a modern filmmaker, say, writing a part with a certain actor in mind. There's a love story and more than a little occultism, which is fine, but what really cinches The Magic Flute is the Queen of the Night (Maria Aleida). The role requires absurd, admittedly jaw-dropping vocal somersaults, well worth witnessing in person - and the Queen is absolutely vicious, to boot. Presented by Opera Carolina. $15-$140. Jan. 19, 8 p.m.; Jan. 24, 7:30 p.m.; Jan. 27, 2 p.m. Belk Theater, 130 N. Tryon St. 704-372-1000.