Kristen Leich as Marcellina in Opera Australia’s The Marriage of Figaro. Photo by Albert Comper.
You would have to be churlish indeed not to be swept up by the campy, vampy deliciousness of this new production of The Marriage of Figaro from Opera Australia.
Translated from the original Italian, the new English libretto by Michael Gow (who also directs) adds a new dimension to the work. Although initially somewhat disconcerting, as the opera proceeds it becomes great fun to be able to follow the events in detail. Gow’s translation renders comprehensible all the scheming and plotting of the characters and the sheer mad-cap folly of the narrative, which all takes place on one single day, the day of Figaro’s wedding.
Gow’s high camp direction is hugely enjoyable, as is the pleasure of listening to the 12 singers’ wonderful voices. The performers also bring an exciting sense of movement and physicality to the performance.
The regional tour of this production is part of Opera Australia’s Community Engagement program, begun in 2014, and the Opera itself has been slightly rewritten by Gow to allow the choral sections to be sung by a Regional Children’s Chorus drawn from each of the towns the production visits. Local choir leaders have been given support and assistance to develop the Children’ Chorus performance, and Opera Australia’s Children’s Chorus Master Josh van Konkelenberg is travelling to each town several days before the performances to rehearse the children into the work.
In the performance at Riverside Theatres, Parramatta, The Children’s Chorus was very engaging and their singing was clear, sweet and true.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The Marriage of Figaro
By Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Original Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte, after the comedy La folle Journée, ou Le Marriage de Figaro by Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais
Orchestra Arrangement by Robert Greene
English Translation and Adaptation: Michael Gow
Orchestral Arrangement: Robert Green
Director : Michael Gow
Conductor: Paul Fitzsimon
Designer: Robert Kemp
Lighting Designer: Matt Scott
Count Almaviva: Lucas de Jong, Simon Meadows
Countess Almaviva: Emma Castelli, Olivia Cranwell
Susanna: Celeste Lazarenko, Jenny Liu
Figaro: Jeremy Kleeman, Tom Hamilton
Cherubino: Agnes Sarkis
Marcellina: Kristen Leich
Bartolo: Steven Gallop
Don Basilio: Brad Cooper
Don Curzio:- Brad Cooper
Barbarina: Jenny Liu, Celeste Lazarenko
Antonio: Tom Hamilton, Jeremy Kleeman
Bridesmaid: Emma Castelli, Olivia Cranwell
Regional Children’s Chorus Master: Josh van Konkelenberg
Concertmaster: Lucy Warren
Violin 2: Caroline Hopson
Viola: Josh Stilwell
Cello: Stephanie Arnold
Double Bass: Chloe Smith
Oboe: Jessica Foot
Bassoon: Chris Martin
Flute: Georgia: Williams
French Horn: Sebastian Dunn
Riverside Theatre, Parramatta
19-20 August 2016