Historic marionette troupe from Austria visits Mondavi Center

By From page A11 | November 05, 2013

Check it out

What: Salzburg Marionette Theatre

When: 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 7-9, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10

Where: Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, UC Davis

Tickets: $44 general, $22 children, $20 UC Davis students; www.mondaviarts.org, 530-754-2787

The Salzburg Marionette Theatre — founded a century ago in Austria, and still touring the world in its 100th anniversary year — visits the Mondavi Center Nov. 7-10) with four performances, each presenting a different puppet adaptation of a popular opera or musical.

On Thursday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m., they will present their version of Richard Wagner’s “Ring” cycle, condensing the four original operas (some of which run to epic length) into a 75-minute performance. On Friday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m., they will present an adaptation of the sprightly Mozart opera “The Magic Flute.”

Saturday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m. features an adaptation of Engelbert Humperdinck’s 1892 opera “Hansel and Gretel,” based on the popular folk tale by the Brothers Grimm. And the series wraps up on Sunday, Nov. 10, at the family-friendly hour of 3 p.m. for a puppet version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music,” set in Salzburg, Austria.

The Salzburg Marionette Theatre employs 12 puppeteers, trained in a wide variety of trades and professions. Marionettes are specially made for each production in the repertoire; they have no change of costume, with a new figure being made for each costume. In any one production, between 20 and 90 different marionettes will appear on stage. Currently, some 500 puppets are “employed” at the Salzburg Marionette Theatre.

The company’s lighting technician works with a computer-controlled lighting console to achieve the best possible illumination. In the miniature opera house of the Salzburg marionettes, this contributes considerably to the illusion, allowing full scope to the audience’s powers of imagination.

The Salzburg Marionette Theatre stages some 160 performances annually at home, and another 60 to 100 on tours worldwide. There is a travelling stage specially for tours; the puppets, properties, sets and scenery, together with sound and lighting equipment, make up some 4 to 5 tons of freight that is transported by road, air or sea.

The performances will be in Jackson Hall at the Mondavi Center. Tickets are $44 general, $22 for children and $20 for UC Davis students, available at www.mondaviarts.org or 530-754-2787.

Jeff Hudson

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