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The Marriage of Figaro

This past weekend, our still hurt, grieving and confused nation began to return to patterns that seemed more normal. Vigils were still being observed. Churches, synagogues and other places of worship did continue to report increased attendance, but sports and other major forms of entertainment were back on the calendar. At the IU stadium the football playing Hoosiers played Utah and in the Musical Arts Center the music playing Hoosiers played Mozart.

The IU Opera Theatre opened its season with Mozart's durable comedy "The Marriage of Figaro" in a production marked with a bit bolder approach to the fun along with the usual good singing and playing.

"The Marriage of Figaro" has a plot with enough complications for at least two Brown County Playhouse farces. Characters hide in closets and leap out of windows. There is a woman dressed as a man dressed as woman. In an Oedipal twist a young man is engaged to his mother. Frankly, even with the program and the supertitles I got lost a couple of times, but Vincent Liotta's staging helped a lot. The audience was especially receptive to the comic

In addition to all the action, there's about an opera and a half's worth of music in the IU production of "the Marriage of Figaro." The show starts at eight and despite conductor Imre Pallo's never lagging pace, with two intermissions it ends about eleven-thirty. Solo work throughout was lovely and assured and the opera gives plenty of opportunities. In general diction for "The Marriage of Figaro" was good. As always supertitles helped. In some of the ensembles both the words and the music were pretty muddy. In the Saturday night cast Sheila Murphy was the Figaro's spunky fiancee Susanna. Marcellina, the woman who turns out to be Figaro's mother, was sung warmly by Margaret Schwein. Lindsey Falduto was the petulant love struck teenaged boy, Cherubino. The philandering Count was sung by Corey McKern. The Count's long suffering and noble wife was sung by Chandra Egger. Seth Keeton, Neil Darling, John Huckle and Chester Pidduck were effective comic foils as the doctor, the music master, the gardner and the judge. Lauren Mooney did well as the gardener's daughter.

On Saturday, especially when Chris Burchett was on stage as Figaro, there were plenty of laughs and a lot of warm smiles. The opera's lyrical beauty was never slighted.

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