Le Nozze di Figaro
Mozart and Da Ponte's opera "The Marriage of Figaro"
IU Musical Arts Center
September 20, 21, 27, 28, 2013
The IU Opera Theater’s opening work is Mozart and Da Ponte’s (The Marriage of Figaro) Le Nozze di Figaro. Crisp conducting is by Arthur Fagen and stage direction is by guest Christopher Alexander. Although it has some thought provoking moments and perhaps even a bit of sadness, the opera is a comedy and comedy was what this production aimed at and hit. The first act in particular was wonderfully varied, and tightly presented with plenty of tension, comedy and laughter from the audience.
Saturday night’s servants to the Count and Countess were Tyler Henderson as Figaro and Anastasia Talley as Susanna. Henderson has a nice comic sense and was more than supported by Talley. The verbal highlight was Talley showing her claws to Erica Schoelkopf as the scheming Marcellina in a nicely worded cat fight. Physical comedy was on display as well when Nathaniel Olson as a mostly noble Count and Anne Chester as the mostly rascally page Cherubino played a bit of musical chairs.
In what’s after all mostly a farce, though a beautifully musical one, complications abound. The Count it seems has a wandering eye. Although he’s given up his ancient first night privilege, he’s still trying for a rendezvous with Susanna despite her protestations–not to mention the efforts of Figaro, Cherubino and his wife, the graceful Countess, sung affectingly by Katelyn Lee.
In the final act, assignations, whispered consultations, and loud confrontations are the disorder of the evening. When the dusk settles it seems that at least for the moment the ladies have taken the field and the evening. Susanna and Figaro will enjoy their first night together without the Count. The foiled Count is all apologies and pledges of allegiance to his forgiving Countess. Marcellina will marry long time confederate, Dr. Bartolo, Rafael Porto. Cherubino has tamed his teen hormones enough to settle on the perky Bararina, Simran Afsah. And in a nice twenty-first century touch Max Zander as the cheerful music master Don Basilio and Francisco Ortega as the dutiful judge, Don Curzio, are part of the pairings.