the face behind the puppets.

(photos by Phil Groshong)

(photos by Phil Groshong)

She has curly red hair and porcelain skin like a doll's. But you won't notice this petite, energetic woman on stage- you will be too busy watching her furry co-stars. Meet Karie Gipson,

The Magic Flute's very own puppet instructor. Karie is one of Cincinnati Opera's supernumeraries (a "super" is a nonspeaking, nonsinging role in opera). But even though you won't hear her voice, Karie has a very important job- she gives life to the puppets.

"We call him Woody," she says as she describes her favorite puppet in the show. "He's the small pink and white bird. I like him because I can give him a lot of expression and personality." Woody is one of two hand puppets in the show.

The Magic Flute also stars several rod bird puppets that flap their wings via a stick attached to their bodies, two six foot flamingos, and one enormous dragon with light-up eyes operated by eight puppeteers...

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