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The realm of Day and Night collide as this world premiere opera tells how the Queen from Mozart's "The Magic Flute" became so evil.
The realm of Day and Night collide as this world premiere opera tells how the Queen from Mozart's "The Magic Flute" became so evil.
78 backers pledged $5,374 to help bring this project to life.

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As Fresco Opera embarks on our 10th anniversary, one goal from the very start was to create an original opera from the ground up. Three years ago, we started to create "The Queen Of The Night," a prequel to Mozart's "The Magic Flute." The opera is scheduled to premiere in April of 2018 in Madison, Wisconsin.

We also wanted to create an accessible work that someone who was unfamiliar to "The Magic Flute" or even opera for that matter, would enjoy. From the ground up, we developed an original story, libretto and music that tells the story of the Queen of the Night. 

We were interested in the backstory of the Queen in Magic Flute. Much like the popular Broadway hit "Wicked," we wanted to peel back the onion and find out what caused her to choose her path. Dark vs. Light. And so our journey began.

We chose a writer, librettist and composer. We gave them direction. And they were able to capture the Fresco vision perfectly. After drafts, revisions and read throughs, we have the final draft of "Queen of the Night" ready for the stage and ready for the public. 

We have expended much of our resources through the process of creating our brand new opera. We are ready for stage, but need help.

We are counting on you to take us the rest of the way.  Fresco Opera has put everything on the line to create this world premiere opera called, "The Queen of the Night".  Mozart was given a gift from the immortals to bestow the world with "The Magic Flute" and it's up to us to tell the untold story that has been hidden in secret for over 200 years.

We are confident this is a production that will be well received, not only from our fans, but also from the worldwide opera community. Let us prove it. Help us perform our creation that is groundbreaking and accessible while retaining the core components of the genre that is Fresco's passion, Opera. "Queen of the Night" is a new component in introducing people to the genre, making fine art a thriving enterprise, enriching the lives of all who experience it. 

Artist Biographies

Jordan Jenkins - Composer
Jordan Jenkins - Composer

Jordan Jenkins is an American composer focused on creating unique, powerful concert music that weaves different styles and genres into a single coherent narrative. Jordan has written a diverse catalog of music ranging from full orchestra to wind ensemble to string quartet to art song, and also done arrangements for jazz band, string quartet, and a cappella ensemble. His music has been performed on numerous recitals and concerts, as well as read by groups such as the Ciompi quartet and the Zeitgeist ensemble. Jordan's wind ensemble piece "Ontogenesis" was performed and toured by the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire Wind Symphony after winning its composition competition, and his orchestra music has also been performed by the UWEC Symphony Orchestra. His recently composed chamber opera, “The Blind Date,” was developed in collaboration with the Roosevelt University Opera Department and will be staged and performed this fall as part of their OperaFest in Fall 2016. Jordan has also participated in various summer festivals including the Atlantic Music Festival and the Source Song Festival.

Amy Quan Barry - Librettist
Amy Quan Barry - Librettist

Amy Quan Barry is the author of the poetry collections Asylum, Controvertibles, and Water Puppets. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Missouri Review, Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review, and other literary publications. She is the recipient of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize (for Asylum) and has received fellowships from Stanford University, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the Wisconsin Arts Board, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Andrew Ravenscroft - Librettist
Andrew Ravenscroft - Librettist

Writer Andrew Ravenscroft was born in London and grew up European. He now makes his home in Madison WI, which in his words make him both a "town mouse and a country mouse, as he belongs everywhere and nowhere at the same time." He enjoys the works of Michael Moorcock, HP Lovecraft, Philip K Dick and Stanislaw Lem. chances are you will see the influences of W.G. Sebald, Iain Banks and even a little Hunter S Thompson thrown in for good measure. He is excited to have had the chance to write the story for "Queen of the Night," given all the possibilities Mozart gave us with inferences in "The Magic Flute."

Caitlin Cisler - in the role of Queen of the Night
Caitlin Cisler - in the role of Queen of the Night

Caitlin Cisler (soprano), from Appleton, WI made her professional debut headlining as Cunegonde in Candide with Four Seasons Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin. Praised for her “breathtaking range of voice”, Ms. Cisler has appeared as Marie in La fille du régiment, Oscar in Un ballo in maschera, Queen of the Night, Pamina and Papagena in Die Zauberflöte, Armida in Rinaldo, Madame Herz in The Impresario, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore, Norina in Don Pasquale, Morgana in Alcina, Valencienne in Die Lustige Witwe, Susanna and Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro, and Mélisande in Pelléas et Mélisande.

Ms. Cisler holds a Masters in Opera Performance from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and Bachelor degrees in vocal performance and biology from Lawrence University. She is a published researcher in vocal health and the effects of singing on the immune system. Currently, Ms. Cisler studies with Julia Faulkner and lives in Montana. 

Jonathan Ten Brink - in the role of Sarastro
Jonathan Ten Brink - in the role of Sarastro

Jonathan Ten Brink is an exciting Baritone active in opera, concert, and chamber music. His “big voice” that “rumbles like foghorns” (Pioneer Press) is regarded as “rich” (Madison Magazine), “heartwarming” (Examiner), and “possessing considerable agility (Grand Rapids Press).

He has performed more than 25 opera roles and given hundreds of performances in the concert setting across 30 states. A frequenter of the chamber music scene, Mr. Ten Brink enjoys the collaborative process of creating a meaningful experience for performer and listener alike.

Jonathan holds degrees from Calvin College (BA), Bowling Green State University (MM), and the University of Minnesota (DMA). He has taught voice at Shorter University, Crown College, North Central University, and Concordia College.

Melanie Cain - in the role of Apophis
Melanie Cain - in the role of Apophis

Melanie Cain, Soprano, holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance and Opera Production and a Masters of Music from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A native of Carroll, Iowa, she received her BA in both Music and Art from Luther College in Decorah, IA.

Melanie has performed both in the Madison area and nationally receiving rave reviews. The Capital Times wrote, “Melanie Cain sang with a gorgeous range and a strong, thrilling voice that projected to the top row. Cain is a graduate student in vocal performance with a big career ahead of her.” Her past roles include Second Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, The Mother and The Witch in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, Madame Lidoine in The Dialogues of the Carmelites, Alice Ford in Falstaff, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus. She has also studied the roles of Leonora in Beethoven’s Fidelio, Miss Jessel in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, the title role from Gluck’s Armide and Salome in Herodiade by Massenet in UW’s Opera Workshop. While at UW, Cain understudied the well known soprano, Julia Faulkner, in the title role of Vanessa. She has been a finalist and semi-finalist in numerous national vocal competitions including the Orpheus National Vocal Competition in Tennessee and the prestigious Jenson Vocal Competition in New York.

George Abbott - in the role of Tamino
George Abbott - in the role of Tamino

George has over twenty years of singing performance experience starting with the Children’s Chorus of San Antonio at age nine. He graduated with a double major from the University of North Texas: Music BA and Math BS. After graduation he taught 7th grade math in Dallas ISD for one year before attending Texas A&M to earn an MS in Chemical Engineering. He originally moved to Madison to work for Epic, but had since moved on to pursue a career in performance. His recent credits include singing with: Madison Bach Musicians, University Theater UW, Fresco Opera Theater, Music Theater of Madison, Madison Opera.

Cat Richmond - in the role of Pamina
Cat Richmond - in the role of Pamina

A versatile musician with a "clear and gorgeous soprano" (Broadway World), Cat Richmond is an accomplished, regional performer.

Along with winning multiple awards, Ms. Richmond has performed and covered a diverse set of roles including Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Papagena (Die Zauberflöte), Yum-Yum (The Mikado), Gretel (Hänsel und Gretel), Gianetta (L'elisir d'amore), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), and Carolina (Il matrimonio segreto). She has bowed with companies such as Lyric Opera Studio of Weimar, Opera Charleston and Peach State Opera.

Ms. Richmond has been seen as a young artist with the Charleston-based Piccolo Spoleto Festival and has performed as a soloist with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. She holds a Bachelor's degree from the College of Charleston and recently completed her Master's degree at Georgia State University.

Dana Carlson - in the role of First Lady
Dana Carlson - in the role of First Lady

Dana is a classically trained soprano with experience performing on the recital, opera, and concert stage in Wisconsin, South Dakota, Texas, Alabama, Colorado, Italy, and the Czech Republic. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Choral Music Education and Vocal Performance from UW-Stevens Point, and a graduate degree in Vocal Performance from the University of South Dakota.

Erin Sura - in the role of Second Lady
Erin Sura - in the role of Second Lady

Soprano Erin Sura is a native of Wisconsin and has performed excerpts of Cio Cio San with the Florentine Opera Company’s outreach concerts while also participating in their full productions of Madama Butterfly and The Magic Flute. She has been heard singing the full and partial roles of Belinda and the Second Witch in Dido and Aeneas, Agathe in Der Freischutz and the title role in Arabella with the Bay Area Summer Opera Theatre Institute. Ms. Sura performed the role of Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus with New York Opera Forum and several roles with Opera in the Ozarks including the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly and Mrs. Hayes in Susannah. She has worked with the Natchez Festival of music performing the role of Pertelote in the children’s opera Chanticleer in addition to participating in their mainstage productions.  Active in new music as well Ms. Sura originated the role of Gloria in Prodigal Lust by Matthew Walton as well as the title role in the concert production of Paula Kimper’s The Captivation of Eunice Williams. 

Meghan Hilker - in the role of Third Lady
Meghan Hilker - in the role of Third Lady

Ms. Hilker is a singer and teacher in the Madison, Wisconsin area. She has performed with Fresco Opera Theatre, Middleton Players Theater, and Madison Savoyards. She received her master’s from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2016 where she studied under Elizabeth Hagedorn. Currently, she is on the faculty at Rhapsody Arts Center, Inc. in Verona and Ripon College where she teaches private voice lessons. Ms. Hilker is originally from Pittsburgh, PA and received a BM in voice performance from Penn State University. In 2013, she attended the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. Most recent performances include Jo March (Little Women), Dorothy Brock (42nd Street)

Jen Plants - Director
Jen Plants - Director

A proud member of Actors’ Equity Association and LMDA, Jen Plants has worked as an actor, director, writer, deviser and dramaturg at professional regional theatres in the United States and the UK.

Current London-based work includes roles as a deviser, director, and dramaturg for No Feedback, an original immersive work about the forms of discrimination that lead to genocide. As an actor, U.S. regional theatre credits include The Asolo Theatre Festival, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Round House Theatre, Atlantic Stage, and three years as an artistic associate at Baltimore Shakespeare Festival, where as an artistic associate.

Recent directing credits include Richard II at the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival (UK); A More Opportune Time at Drew University in Madison, NJ; Doubt at Atlantic Stage, in Myrtle Beach, SC; The Taming of the Shrew in Chatham, NJ; and the direction and original adaptation of Evgenii Shvarts’ The Dragon at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Jen is Faculty Associate at UW-Madison (Department of English: Creative Writing and Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies), where she teaches playwriting, devised theatre-making, theatre for youth, performance studies, and critical race theory. Jen founded the theatre program at Hood College in Frederick, MD, and directed a number of productions there from Lysistrata and Tartuffe to Stop Kiss and The Shape of Things. She earned her MFA from the Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory and has trained with The So and So Circus in London and Dell’Arte International in Denmark.

James Huschka - Conductor
James Huschka - Conductor

James Huschka has performed extensively throughout the Southwest and Midwest as a Conductor, Violinist, and Singer. He is also a composer and arranger. He has been an educator and private musical instructor for over 25 years and is the Co-Owner of the Soul’s Song LLC. He was the founding conductor and musical director of the Four Lakes Chamber Orchestra and was Associate Director of the New Horizons Band in Madison.

Risks and challenges

Fresco Opera Theatre is in the final stages of creating a new opera. All of the pieces are in place for the production to be staged and performed, but we need help in funding for the venue and personnel required to complete our dream.

We have a 9 year history of successful productions. Our risk is the investment we have put into this original does not pay off. Our resources have been expended in the development of the project. We now need help to push it off the ground.

We have no doubt "Queen of the Night" will be a success. Fresco has retained the elements of our past productions that ensure success; authenticity and accessibility. We have the experience to know what works in connecting with our audience. We now have an opportunity to connect to our audience with a completely new production.

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    Stuck by The Queen

    The Queen wants to brand you with this amazing custom officially-licensed sticker designed by the talented Becky Turk

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    Pop You in The Socket!

    Your choice! Grab a Pop Socket you can put on your phone for easy handling or get yourself a kick-ass eyemask. Both are custom branded with the Queen's stamp of approval.

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    The Queen Needs a Hug

    There's nothing more adorable than a Queen plushie. Squeeze her tight at night to keep things nice and dark. We'll even throw in a Queen sticker to make it interesting.

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    Fashion Forward T-Shirt

    The difference between you and the Queen isn't her dark, evil soul, it's her fashion sense. The Queen is all about haute couture and comfort. The t-shirt is meant to be worn by the immortals, but we have made a one time exception for you. To sweeten the deal, we'll throw in a officially-licensed Queen sticker.

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    Cozy Up with a Warm Drink & The Queen

    It's no secret that the Queen has anger issues, but what if she could have taken the time to curl up with a good book and sip her issues away. This mug is perfect for those cozy evenings at home and even better if you like your coffee roasted on the dark side. Better yet, we'll also give you a Queen plushie to snuggle with by the fire and a sticker to show off your love for the Queen.

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    Go Out in Style

    You get to meet the Queen and her Court with these two coveted tickets to the opening night of her show. We want to ensure you're properly dressed to greet the Queen, so we will adorn you with two t-shirts that she has approved for this special occasion. ($100 Value)

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    The Queen's Court

    You and a guest will be treated to a lavish dining experience that's fit for a Queen. Enjoy your meal at the posh Fresco Rooftop Restaurant before the show and we will also have two tickets waiting for you to see the Queen in action on stage. In anticipation of your formal invite, we will bestow a beautiful letter opener that's branded with the Queen's mark.

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    Stay in the Queen's Kingdom

    The Queen has granted you a 2-night/3-day stay at a 2 Bedroom Cottage in the Dells in August. Valued at $1000! As you approach Christmas Mountain Village, driving between endless rows of picturesque pine trees, you will feel as if you’ve left the real world behind. What lies ahead is strikingly beautiful farmland, rolling hills, woods and golf course greens.

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Funding period

- (45 days)