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The Magic Flute


January 28, 2022 – 7:30 PM
January 30, 2022 – 2:00 PM


Saenger Theatre


German with English dialogue & supertitles


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


Emanuel Schikaneder


Premiered during the Age of Enlightenment, The Magic Flute transports us on a mystical journey filled with genies, spirits, and the hilarious antics of a creature who is half man and half bird! The classic elegance of Mozart’s music enthralls us as a young man discovers his humanity during his quest for the truth.

This production features colorful, new staging by Dennis Whitehead Darling, making his company debut with Pensacola Opera. The cast includes many exciting debut artists, alongside some Pensacola Opera favorites and former Artists in Residence.

Cast and Creatives

David Blalock

as Tamino

Praised for his “fine tenor voice” (Winston-Salem Journal), David Blalock is becoming widely known for his beautiful lyric tone and his varied repertoire. During the 2019-20 season, Mr. Blalock made made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Pong in Turandot and joined Pensacola Opera to sing Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni. Mr. Blalock also made his debut with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra as the tenor soloist in Handel’s Messiah and joined the Firelands Symphony Orchestra for a concert of Mozart, Puccini, and Verdi. COVID-19 cancellations included the title character in Orpheus in the Underworld at Madison Opera, Frederic in Pirates of Penzance at Virginia Opera, Jaquino in Fidelio with South Dakota Symphony and a reprisal of Count Almaviva in On Site Opera’s acclaimed production of Paisiello’s Barber of Seville at Caramoor. This past year, Mr. Blalock joined Atlanta Opera as Young Thompson in a recorded production of Glory Denied. Upcoming engagements include a debut with Bar Harbor Music Festival as Ferrando in Così fan tutte, a return to the Metropolitan Opera (Turandot and Ariadne auf Naxos), as well as an eagerly anticipated  recital with Madison Opera.

Bizhou Chang

as Pamina

Chinese-American soprano Bizhou Chang is quickly becoming known for her warmth of tone and thrilling interpretations of opera’s most beloved roles. This season, she returns to Opera Columbus, singing Pamina in the world premiere of The Temple: A Magic Flute Experiencean immersive production based on Mozart’s The Magic Fluteand she appears as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte with Pensacola Opera.

In the 2022-23 season, Ms. Chang performed Mimì in La bohème with Pensacola Opera and made her company debuts as Liù in Turandot with Opera Southwest and Countess Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro with Knoxville Opera. She returned to Guerilla Opera for the concert presentation and theatrical workshop of Emily Koh’s Her: Alive|un|dead, and she appeared as a featured soloist in Pensacola Opera’s 40th anniversary gala concert Forty Forward, along with the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra.

During the 2021-22 season, Ms. Chang made her role debut as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte with Pensacola Opera, performed the role of Maria in the world premiere of Island of Hope, Island of Tears by Gabriele Vanoni with Guerilla Opera, and appeared as Violetta in an immersive production of La Traviata with Opera Columbus and Out of the Box Opera.

During the Covid-19 impacted 2020-21 season, Ms. Chang made her art film debut as Mimì in an innovative film version of La bohème directed by Laine Rettmer with More than Musical (Hong Kong), a co-production of Opera Omaha, Tri-Cities Opera, and Opera Columbus. She also performed Mimì in a new production of La bohème with Opera Columbus and returned to Pensacola Opera as Micaëla in Carmen.

Artist Website >>

Elisa Sunshine*

as the Queen of the Night

Noted for her “blend of vocal sparkle and theatrical charisma” (San Francisco Chronicle), soprano Elisa Sunshine was a participant in the 2019 Merola Opera Program, where she created the role of Selena in Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s If I Were You. She sang a “fun, feisty, and powerful” Marie (San Francisco Examiner) in a scene from Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment on the War Memorial Opera House stage as part of the Merola Grand Finale.

An avid supporter of new works, she performed the role of Madame White Snake in a workshop of Scott Wheeler’s Naga at New England Conservatory and sang the role of Elizabeth Christine in Wheeler’s workshop performance of The Sorrows of Frederick with the Center for Contemporary Opera in New York City.

Favorite roles include the Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte (Portland Opera To Go, Brevard Janiec Opera Company, and New England Conservatory), Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel (Regina Opera), Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos (Lowell House Opera), Musetta in La Bohème (Regina Opera and, in an all-female La femme bohème, with MetroWest Opera) and Poppea in Agrippina (New England Conservatory).

Sunshine received her Bachelor of Music degree from DePauw University and a Master of Music and Graduate Diploma from New England Conservatory.

Robert Mellon*

as Papageno

Baritone Robert Mellon is known for having a “dark baritone, full and fresh and quick with dramatic fire.” 2022 engagements include Papageno with Pensacola Opera; Iago in Othello with InSeries Opera; Marullo in Rigoletto at Opera Philadelphia; and a return to Union Avenue Opera in the title role in Falstaff. His 2021 debut as Figaro in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia won
critical reviews. He returned to Opera de Oviedo for Marcello in La bohème and Gubetta in Lucrezia Borgia, as well as Malatesta in Don Pasquale with Opera Las Vegas. Other recent roles include Syracuse Opera as Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte; the title role in Gianni Schicchi and Eine Florentinische Tragödie with Livermore Valley Opera; Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro and Papageno in The Magic Flute with Opera Maine; and Schaunard in La bohème with San Diego Opera. In 2019 Robert debuted Dear Erich with NYCO, Leporello in Don Giovanni with Syracuse Opera, Tonio in Pagliacci and Simone in Eine Florentinische Tragödie at Opera de Oviedo (Spain). Upcoming: Taddeo in L’Italiana in Algeri with Tulsa Opera; Tonio in Pagliacci with Opera Tampa; Germont in La Traviata with Opera Las Vegas.

Artist Website >>

Ron Dukes*

as Sarastro

Ron Dukes completed his Master’s Degree in Opera from IU Jacobs School of Music with a full ride and under the tutelage of Professor Peter Volpe. During his time at IU, Ron has performed many roles with IU Opera Theatre and with local start-up opera companies, including Sarastro, Basilio, Bartolo, Simone, and Oroveso. 

Ron was featured as a Studio Artist with Wolf Trap Opera in 2019, where he played the role of Truffaldino in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos and covered the role of Don Inigo Gomez in Ravel’s L’heure Espagnole. In the summer of 2021, Ron will be joining the Glimmerglass Festival to play the role of Armored Man in their adaptation of Die Zauberflöte and cover the role of Sarastro.  

Ron is thrilled to joining Pensacola Opera as a resident artist to sing the role of Basilio in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia and Sarastro in their production of Die Zauberflöte.

Emily Michiko Jensen*

as First Lady

Praised for her “theatrical instincts and intriguingly versatile instrument,” Japanese-American soprano Emily Michiko Jensen was most recently an Apprentice Artist with Chautauqua Opera covering the title role of Tosca. She also performed the role of Angel More in The Mother of Us All and covered Susan B Anthony.

During the 2021-2022 season, Ms. Jensen was a Resident Artist at Pensacola Opera, where she sang First Lady while covering Pamina in Die Zauberflöte and covered Berta in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. In recital, Emily performed Wagner’s Die Wesendonck lieder in March 2022. Ms. Jensen made her Florentine Opera debut as Jessie in Weill’s Mahagonny: Ein SongSpiel and was slated to perform Maguelonne in Viardot’s Cendrillon while covering the title role and was also supposed to cover Mimi in La bohème (COVID-19).

Originally from San Diego, California, Ms. Jensen received a Graduate Diploma & MM in Vocal Performance from New England Conservatory. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the Eastman School of Music.

Erin Alford

as Second Lady

First Prize Winner of the 2024 Pasadena Vocal Competition, mezzo-soprano Erin Alford kicked off her 2023-24 season as Berenice in Rossini’s L’occasione fa il ladro with Opera Southwest, followed by performances in LA Opera Connects outreach production of Orpheus, Handel’s Messiah with Pacific Opera Project and First Church Miami, recital Words of Women in American Song with The Ebell of Los Angeles, and in concert with Palm Springs Opera Guild. Last season she joined Florida Grand Opera as a Studio Artist, where she performed Fidalma in El matrimonio secreto, La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi, and covered Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia. In the 2021-22 season, Erin performed Second Woman and Dido cover in Dido and Aeneas with Opera San José, returned to Pensacola Opera as Zweite Dame in Die Zauberflöte, and joined Opera Santa Barbara as a Chrisman Studio Artist, covering Hannah After in As One and performing song cycle The Starry Night with American composer Jake Heggie at the piano. Additionally, Erin was named a 2022 Tennessee District Winner in the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition.

>>Artist Website

Imara Miles*

as Third Lady

Imara Miles is a mezzo-soprano from the DC/Maryland area. Originally a musical theatre performer, she performed in shows such as Guys and Dolls (Gen. Cartwright), The Pirates of Penzance (Ruth), Cinderella (Stepmother), and The Drowsy Chaperone (Title Character) before making her operatic debut in Gianni Schicchi (Zita). Since then she has performed in Dialogues des Carmélites (Mere Jeanne), Bernstein’s Mass (Street Singer), and Blue (Girlfriend #3 cover) with companies like IU Opera Theatre and The Glimmerglass Festival. A recent graduate of Indiana University, Imara received her bachelor’s degree from York College of Pennsylvania and has been involved with choirs such as NOTUS and the Grant Park Chorus in Chicago as a fellowship artist. Imara was recently awarded an encouragement award in the district round of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and this past summer she was a Tomita Young Artist with Finger Lakes Opera.

Robert Hartfield*

as Monostatos

Robert Hartfield is an American tenor coming from the farmlands of Kansas and Missouri. He possesses a highly personal singing style, carefully developed under the mentorship of his father, former opera singer Paul Hartfield Sr., and the teachings of legendary baritone, professor Kim Josephson. Robert earned numerous prestigious awards early on in his singing career, including winning six National Association of Teacher of Singing (NATS) competitions. Soon after, he was performing leading roles with opera companies such as Opera in the Ozarks, Cimarron Opera, and the University of Oklahoma Theater. A firm believer in music versatility, Robert’s performances range from Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio to Adamo’s Little Women. In addition, he pursued an undergraduate in organ performance. Robert recently completed his master’s degree in opera performance from the University of Oklahoma. Upcoming engagements include performances with the Central City Opera, Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra, and Pensacola Opera.

Alyssa Dessoye

as Papagena

Alyssa Dessoye, American soprano from Tampa Fl, has recently earned her Master of Music degree in Voice Performance from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Dessoye was most recently seen on the IU Opera Theater stage as Adina in L’elisir d’amore, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, and Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly. She was also featured as a soprano soloist in Honegger’s King David as well as in Handel’s Messiah. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from Florida State University where she also performed as Zerlina and Suor Genovieffa in Suor Angelica. In the summer of 2018, Dessoye joined the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra as Erste Dame in their fully staged production of Die Zauberflöte and made her role debut with the Aspen Music Festival as Giulietta in Les contes d’Hoffmann. Dessoye then joined Sarasota Opera as an Apprentice Artist in their 2020 winter season.

Corey McKern

as the Speaker

Award-winning baritone Corey McKern continuously earns critical acclaim and accolades in every appearance he makes. Of his performance as Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, critics hailed: “Corey McKern… has all the goods to rise to star stature – timing, stamina, vocal heft and an easy-going stage presence – especially telling in Figaro’s signature aria, ‘Largo al factotum della citta.’” Recent engagements include the role of Older Thompson in Glory Denied with Opera Birmingham and performances as a soloist in Carmina Burana with Missoula Symphony, and Handel’s Messiah with the Alabama Symphony. Other engagements include Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Tallahassee Symphony and a return to the Florentine Opera for a concert of “Opera’s Greatest Hits.” Upcoming, Corey will return to Pensacola Opera as the title role in their production of Don Giovanni.

Of his performance in La bohème, the Santa Fe New Mexican said, “Corey McKern’s resolute, robust-voiced and rambunctious Marcello, a perfect picture of a wannabe Parisian painter, was one of the best I’ve ever heard.” Mr. McKern garners attention at leading opera houses for his charming and dynamic portrayals of his signature roles: Marcello in La bohème in his Asian début at Opera Hong Kong, Santa Fe Opera, Florentine Opera of Milwaukee, Nashville Opera, and Opera Grand Rapids; Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Nashville Opera and Opera Birmingham; the Count in Le nozze di Figaro with Nashville Opera, Opera Cleveland, Opera Columbus, Michigan Opera Theatre, Tulsa Opera, Opera Birmingham, and Syracuse Opera; Gabriel von Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus with Nashville Opera and Florentine Opera; Papageno in Die Zauberflöte with Opera Omaha, Arizona Opera, Opera Birmingham, and Tulsa Opera; as Silvio in Pagliacci with Austin Lyric Opera, Arizona Opera, Opera Birmingham, and Central City Opera.

* Pensacola Opera debut artist

Production Team

STAGE DIRECTOR | Dennis Whitehead Darling*
COSTUME DESIGNER | Glenn Avery Breed
HAIR & MAKEUP DESIGNER | Brittany Rappise  
STAGE MANAGER | Karl Anderson

* Pensacola Opera debut artist

Our Sponsors



Director’s Champagne Brunch

Sunday, January 30 at 11:45am
Cost: $50

Safety Measures

Pensacola Opera and the Saenger Theatre are working together to do everything we can to ensure audience members are safe coming back to live performances. Here are a few things to keep in mind as we prepare to re-enter the theatre: 

Wear a Mask

Audience members will be asked to wear a mask as you move about the Saenger Theatre. 

Health Screenings

Guests entering the theatre may be subject to a health screening questionnaire or temperature check. 

Social Distance

Seating in the theatre has been arranged to ensure social distancing between guests within different parties. 

Digital Programs

To eliminate the added transfer of germs, we've moved to a digital program book which you'll be able to access from your mobile device.

Hand Sanitizer

We encourage all of our guests to take advantage of the hand sanitizer which will be available throughout the theatre.

Unwell? Stay Home

If you're feeling unwell, we encourage you to stay home and take advantage of our livestream experience!

Save the Date

Returning Subscribers

April 28, 2021

New Subscribers

June 7, 2021

Single Ticket Sales Open

August 7, 2021

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