One of the world’s best-loved comic operas, Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (“The Marriage of Figaro”), comes to the Eastman Theatre stage for four performances April 2 through 5. The fast-paced story revolves around the timeless themes of love and misunderstanding, with a cast of memorable characters and beautiful melodies that have made the work a popular standard of operatic repertoire.
Presented by the Eastman Opera Theatre, the production will be sung in Italian with projected English supertitles, and the April 5 matinee also will be interpreted in American Sign Language. Two alternating casts, composed of Eastman School of Music singers, will perform in 18th century period costumes.
Taking place all in one day, Le Nozze di Figaro recounts the obstacles that Figaro and Susanna, servants in the house of Count Almaviva, must overcome on their way to the altar, including the philandering Count and a creditor who wants Figaro for herself. Meanwhile, the despondent Countess seeks to rekindle her husband’s passion while holding back the advances of a lovesick page. Several ruses lead to misunderstandings and mistaken identities, resulting in confusion and comedy. At the end, though, all is happily resolved, with forgiveness and true love triumphing.
Mozart’s opera is based on a play of the same name by the French writer Pierre Beaumarchais. Because of its unflattering portrayal of the ruling class, the play was banned for a time in parts of Europe, and the sentiments expressed fanned the flames of revolution in France.
“The play and the opera were revolutionary for the time,” said Johnathon Pape, dramatic director of the production. “By presenting flaws in the aristocracy while having the male and female servants display intelligence, devotion, and resourcefulness, Le Nozze di Figaro shows that character and true nobility have nothing to do with social class or gender.”
With the exception of Doctor Bartolo, the opera’s roles will be performed by alternating casts of Eastman students. The role of the elderly physician, who seeks revenge on Figaro for uniting Count Almaviva with Bartolo’s ward years earlier, will be played in both casts by Visiting Professor of Voice Jan Opalach. Opalach has been a principal artist of the New York City Opera since 1980. Among the roles he has performed with the company are the title roles in Falstaff and Le Nozze di Figaro, Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore, Leporello in Don Giovanni, and the Forester in The Cunning Little Vixen. He also has appeared with the Metropolitan Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, the Netherlands Opera, Canadian Opera Company, and others. Distinguished Professor of Voice Benton Hess is the music director for the production.
Le Nozze di Figaro will be presented at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 2, Friday, April 3, and Saturday, April 4, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, April 5. (The April 5 matinee will be interpreted in American Sign Language by Eastman student Amanda Hays.) Reserved seating tickets are $10 to $20 (discounts with UR ID). Tickets are available at the Rochester Philharmonic Box Office, 108 East Ave.; by phone (585) 454-2100; or online at esm.rochester.edu/concerts.
There will be pre-performance lectures one hour before the opera on April 3, 4, and 5, which will be presented by Associate Professor of Vocal Coaching and Repertory Russell Miller in Room 120 in the Eastman School’s Main Hall.
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Eastman Opera Theatre presents Le Nozze di Figaro, Mozart’s popular opera about love, misunderstanding, forgiveness, and the resourcefulness of the servant class. Johnathon Pape, dramatic director; Benton Hess, music director. Sung in Italian with English supertitles.
Thursday, April 2, at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, April 3, at 7:30 p.m. (Pre-performance lecture at 6:30 p.m. in Room 120 in the Eastman School of Music’s Main Hall.)
Saturday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m. (Pre-performance lecture at 6:30 p.m. in Room 120 in the Eastman School of Music’s Main Hall.)
Sunday, April 5, at 2 p.m. This performance will be interpreted in American Sign Language. (Pre-performance lecture at 1 p.m. in Room 120 in the Eastman School of Music’s Main Hall.)
Eastman Theatre, 60 Gibbs St.
Tickets: $10 to $20 (discounts with UR ID); available at the Rochester Philharmonic Box Office, 108 East Ave.; by phone (585) 454-2100; or online at esm.rochester.edu/concerts.