Now in its lucky thirteenth season, the Union Avenue Opera returns to action with a surefire crowd-pleaser: Mozarts Die Zauberflöte. Beloved for the comedic earthiness of Papageno the birdcatcher, the idealism of Tamino, and the overarching quest for truth and goodness in a troubled world, Die Zauberflöte also owes some of its cache to the demanding and spectacular Queen of the Night Aria, more properly known as Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen (The vengeance of Hell boils in my heart). Mozarts gift for blending such complex vocal parts with simpler sung-spoken roles adds to the charm of the opera. The plot revolves around Taminos quest to free the beauteous Pamina from Sarastros clutches, at the behest of Paminas mother, the Queen of the Night. Aided by Papageno and the gift of a magic flute that can sway mens hearts as the player desires, Tamino discovers that Sarastro may not be the bad guy -- just a stickler for order. His need for laws and knowledge forces him to occasionally abduct princesses for their own good and then force their suitors to undergo rites of challenge to prove their worth. All in a days enlightened work, apparently. The Union Avenue Opera presents Die Zauberflöte in the original German at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday (June 29 through July 7) at the Union Avenue Christian Church (733 North Union Boulevard; 314-361-2881 or www.unionavenueopera.org). Tickets are $25 to $50.
Fridays, Saturdays. Starts: June 29. Continues through July 7