MSU Opera Theatre presents Mozart’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro’
March 22, 24, 25, 26 at Fairchild Theatre, MSU Auditorium. Wednesday. 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday 8:00 p.m., Sunday 3:00 p.m.
The MSU Opera Theatre will finish its 2016-2017 season with Mozart’s iconic opera The Marriage of Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro), Mar. 22-26 in MSU Auditorium’s Fairchild Theatre. This four-act opera has endured and remained relevant for more than 230 years and tells the tale of class differences and privilege and is one of the most frequently performed operas.
The production is slated for Wednesday, March 22 at 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 24 and Saturday, March 25 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, March 26 at 3 p.m. It will be sung in Italian with English surtitles, and is set in Paris following the Second World War.
The Marriage of Figaro, considered an opera buffa, or comic opera, was first premiered in Vienna in 1786, and was considered to have been a great success. Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with the Italian libretto written by Lorenzo Da Ponte, the opera is an account of a single "day of madness" in the palace of the Count Almaviva, who continually tries to obtain the favors of Figaro's bride-to-be, Susanna, both of whom are his servants. The Count keeps creating excuses to delay the civil part of the wedding, which is arranged for this very day. Figaro, Susanna, and the Countess Rosina conspire to embarrass the Count and expose his scheming. The Count’s response is an attempt to legally compel Figaro to marry a woman old enough to be his mother, who turns out at the last minute to actually be his mother. By the end, as a result of Figaro and Susanna's clever manipulations, the Count is shown up as a fool as he attempts to obtain his wife’s forgiveness.
Daniel Beckwith will be conducting the MSU Symphony Orchestra for the opera. Beckwith served at the Metropolitan Opera for six seasons as the assistant to James Levine and made his conducting debut with Mozart’s Don Giovanni in 1995. His love for Baroque and Early Classical music has helped to shape his passion for Mozart operas. This is his fourth appearance with MSU Opera Theatre. Melanie Helton, director of MSU Opera Theatre and professor of voice, will direct.
“This opera is just about perfect,” says Helton. “In this era of the “1%”, it is clear that class warfare is something that doesn’t go away. There is always a revolution of some sort right around the bend. In many ways, the Beaumarchais play upon which the opera is based was the first shot in the French Revolution. The genius of Mozart and daPonte is to somehow make us laugh and think about our own status at the same time. Our splendid young singers and instrumentalists are on their way to wonderful performances.”
Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors (age 60 and older), and $5 for students with ID and anyone under 18, and can be purchased online, at the College of Music box office, by calling (517) 353-5340, or in person (333 W. Circle Drive, East Lansing), or at the door. There is a preview lecture 45 minutes before every performance.
The 2016-17 opera season is underwritten by the Worthington Family Foundation, and The Marriage of Figaro is generously sponsored by Susan and Jack Davis.