Met Opera broadcast of ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ in Breckenridge | SummitDaily.com

Met Opera broadcast of ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ in Breckenridge

Elmer Koneman
Special to the Daily

Soprano Marlis Petersen in the title role of Berg’s "Lulu." Petersen will play the part of Susanna, maid to Countess Almaviva, in the Metropolitan Opera's upcoming performance of Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro."

The high-definition screening of Mozart's classic opera "The Marriage of Figaro" will take place at Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge on Saturday, Oct. 25, starting at 10:55 a.m. A prologue is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. with Cecile Forsberg, National Repertory Orchestra artistic and operations director, and Tim Pare, Lake Dillon Theatre Company director of education. Following the opera there will be an open discussion and question session.

The opera story is complex and fast moving, with interactions of characters both in and out of disguise, played out in intertwining of events. The opera opens in a room in the mansion of Count Alnmaviva, where one of the servants, Figaro, sung by bass-baritone Ildar Abdrazakov, and bride to be Susanna, maid to Countess Almaviva, sung by soprano Marlis Petersen, are making arrangements for their upcoming marriage.

As the events progress, not only is the Count, sung and acted by Peter Mattei, whose voice is described as having depth, body and lyrical allure, after the love of Suzanna, but also Cherubino, the page, and Marscellina, who later discovers that she is actually Figaro's mother, to whom Figaro is in debt. As the plot progresses, the Countess, Almaviva, sung by young American soprano Amanda Majeski, Suzanna, Cherubino and Marscellina design disguises for one another. Through these disguises, each assumes the role of another to confuse and expose the Count in his attempt to carry out his feudal privilege to enjoy Suzanne sexually before her marriage. In the last act, the disguises are revealed in a courtyard scene, where each of the discontented partners ends up in joyful reconciliation among all.

This production is by British director Richard Eyre, who updates the story to Spain in the 1930s. Stage director Peter Howell uses a rotating stage, where the action takes place in a maze of interlocked rooms, doors and corridors, making it easy for everyone in the plot to move about in the fast-moving stage actions. Howell also designed the 1930s-era costumes: wonderful, sleek gowns and smart suits for the upper class; proper, playful uniforms for the staff.

Of interest is the use of background stage actions during the playing of the opening melodic overture. This innovation serves to introduce the various characters in key activities that introduce them in the acts and scenes to follow. One reviewer, however, has commented, "I found this dramatization rather heavy-handed. I prefer to see the characters emerge as they are introduced in the opera and to get to know them. Also, the busyness onstage took my attention from the lithe, effortless playing of the overture." Those attending this HD broadcast can judge the effect of this innovation.

Although the action of this opera is fast moving throughout, the music compensates for any confusion with the plot. The legendary James Levine conducts orchestra, making his first appearance on an opening night in four years after suffering from an incapacitating illness. The lilting melodies produced by the soloists, both in the performance of soaring arias and interspersed recitatives (sung dialogues), and the several choral ensembles are punctuated by energetic, rhythmic melodies in the orchestra that add clarity to the lyrics being expressed.

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A quote from the New York Times review describes the essence of this often-performed Mozart opera: "A ravishing, intricately wrought evening of music, humor and emotional depth. … An evening like this is the strongest argument for the continued vigor of the Met."

If you go

What: Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro,” part of the 2014-15 “Met Opera: Live in HD” broadcast season

Where: The Finkel Auditorium at the Colorado Mountain College Breckenridge campus, 107 Denison Placer Ave., Breckenridge

When: 10:55 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 25; the National Repertory Orchestra and the Lake Dillon Theater Company’s “Opera Prologue and Epilogue” series begins at 10:30 a.m.

Cost: $20 for adults, $16 for seniors and Met Members and $10 for students and children

More information: Light snacks and beverages will be provided at intermission, donation requested. For ticket information and purchase, call the National Repertory Orchestra Office at (970) 453-5825. Ticket purchase may also be made online by visiting the NRO website at http://www.nromusic.com.