hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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March 4, 2011

Teen singer from Haverhill performs Mozart's opera

Dan Smith, 18, will take to the stage at the Greater Lawrence Technical School for a production of Mozart's "The Magic Flute.''

When young men raise their voice in song, they're often either part of a religious choir or trying to mimic their favorite rock 'n' roll idols.

But Haverhill's Dan Smith, 18, is attempting to capture the harmonies of Mozart's final and arguably most difficult opera.

On March 11, Smith will take to the stage at the Greater Lawrence Technical School for the Treble Chorus of New England's production of Mozart's "The Magic Flute.'' His role of the comedic character Papageno would provide hearty laughs for those in attendance. It also marks a bittersweet curtain call for himself and his family.

The youngest of six siblings, all of whom participated in the Treble Chorus in some capacity, Smith's final performance will mark the end of an era for his family.

"There's a generation ending there," he said. "It's a little sad, but everything must come to an end."

For the last 11 years, Smith has participated in the Treble Chorus' Hands on Opera program as a bass baritone singer. He said he's noticed his voice changing over recent years and wants to celebrate the chorus on a "low" note.

"I'm probably the highest of my brothers," he said of his voice.

For "The Magic Flute,'' Smith will take on the comedic role of Papageno, a wandering bird master who lusts after the goddess of the night.

Smith said such slapstick roles match his personality perfectly. He dislikes having to dramatically emote on cue, a key trait for a princely protagonist character. Instead, the character Papageno calls for an affable fool and a skilled vocalist. Smith said these silly characters also help him overcome his slight fear of performing to crowds by letting himself go.

"I usually get the goofy character," he said. "This is my favorite role. The way Mozart wrote this is just wonderful. There's so many different melodies and styles inside of it."

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