You Review: The Marriage of Figaro

Reader Mike Tilling enjoys Opera North’s production of Mozart’s great opera at Leeds Grand Hall

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You Review: The Marriage of Figaro
Rating: 
4

How do you find something new to say about Mozart’s supreme operatic achievement? Fortunately, Director Jo Davies’s innovative adaptation provided much food for thought.

The curtain rose on Leslie Travers’s downbeat, below-stairs set with Susanna and Figaro in drab costumes that contrast vividly with the Mozart’s colourful music.

Silvia Moi as Susanna was tentative in the opening scenes, but her later arias and duets were carried off with great style. ‘Sull aria ...’ with Ana Maria Labin, on top form as the Countess, was particularly affecting.

Richard Burkhard as the resourceful Figaro handled the famous arias well and was consistently convincing, even when required to switch to the role of (apparently) jilted lover in the last Act.

The part of Cherubino is, of course designed to be a scene stealer. The two great arias, cross dressing and then cross-cross dressing, are devices made for an actor with spirit. Helen Sherman in the role had plenty of that.

As the curtain fell, there was food for thought in a number of directorial decisions. Why did the cast light sparklers for the finale? Was the purpose of the peeling wallpaper in the Contessa’s boudoir symbolic of the decay of their marriage?

Opera North’s success in presenting one original production after another continues.

 

Mike Tilling, Scarborough

 

 

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