Opera, the myth. It’s pretentious people laughing or crying at words in languages they don’t even understand. It’s wine and champagne. It’s unidentifiable animal and vegetable matter on precious, little crackers.

Opera, the reality. No, it’s not.

Opera is your local pub. It’s where all of the art forms congregate at the end of a tough day to swap war stories, have a few adult beverages and, when those have been consumed in sufficient quantities, start laughing and singing together saying, "We have to do this more often!"

Well, they will be: in April. And it begins with a duel between a man and 20-foot dragon on the stage of Kendall Hall at The College of New Jersey Center for the Arts in Boheme Opera NJ’s production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute on April 20 at 8 p.m. and April 22 at 3 p.m.

Sung in English. Food and drink in the lobby that you can recognize and pronounce –– and not be concerned might have been last month’s National Geographic endangered species cover story.

As always, Boheme Opera NJ has gathered gifted actors, singers and musicians for its mainstage – but what will set this production apart from any presented before in the region are the sets. Opera, again, is the convergence of all of the audio and visual arts. And the latter will take center stage, springing from the incredible imagination and canvas and computer artistry of J. Matthew Root.

Mr. Root has created a high-definition world into which Mozart’s characters will be thrust, combining HD projection of still and animated sets to dazzle the eye, while the music fills the ear. "Film is the ultimate art form," noted Mr. Root. "It combines visuals, music and story in a way that transcends each and transports the viewer to that esoteric realm where, truly, anything goes."

It is unsurprising, then, that it is the fantastical land from Mozart’s own fertile, creative mind –– and from a composer known for the same "anything goes" approach to life and the arts –– that should be the vehicle for Boheme Opera NJ’s production that will set a new bar for opera in the region.

This English-language production of The Magic Flute, with English supertitles, can be a perfect introduction to the arts for the new operagoer, young or old, and a revelation for those who think they know Mozart’s magical masterpiece.

You haven’t seen or experienced opera, until you see and experience Boheme Opera NJ’s production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

About The Magic Flute: The Magic Flute will be performed on April 20 at 8:00 p.m. and April 22 at 3:00 p.m. at the Kendall Hall Theatre of The College of New Jersey Center for the Arts. Pre-curtain talks will be given one hour and fifteen minutes before each performance. Directed and conducted by Boheme Opera NJ Artistic Director Joseph Pucciatti. Tickets are $55, $45 and $35. Special discounts and group sale ticketing are available. Visit www.bohemeoperanj.com for more information on the production, discounts and ticketing. To reach The College of New Jersey Center for the Arts box office directly, call (609) 771-2775. Major funding is made possible in part by a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts; The Boheme Opera Guild, Inc.; and Roma Bank.

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