REVIEW: Marriage of Figaro (Lyric Opera)

This marriage is a flawless, fun farce

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Lyric Opera of Chicago presents:

Marriage of Figaro

Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conducted by
Sir Andrew Davis
Stage directed by
Herbert Kellner
Projected English supertitles by Francis Rizzo
at
Civic Opera House through March 27th (more info)

By Katy Walsh

figaro01Figaro wants to marry Susanna. Marcellina wants to marry Figaro. Bartolo wants to marry the Countess. The Count wants Susanna. The Countess wants the Count. Cherubino wants everybody.  Arias of lust love are in the air!

Lyric Opera of Chicago presents Marriage of Figaro, composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. A four act opera buffa (comedy) performed in Italian with projected English translations. A sequel to The Barber of Seville, the opera is set in the late eighteenth century. Figaro and Susanna want to marry. As servants of the Count, the union must be authorized by him. In addition, the Count may choose to invoke the custom of ‘having the bride’ before giving her away. The Count is not the only one interfering with Figaro’s marriage. Debts and betrayals have followed him from his The Barber of Seville days. Through a comedic series of tricks and twists, love eventually conquers all.

Throughout all four acts, this cast sings and plays well together. It’s like watching a group of friends setting up good natured pranks to teach each other a lesson. Leading the playful spirit, Danielle De Niese (Susanna) is an adorable, lively sprite with pitch-perfect, comedic timing. Kyle Ketelsen (Figaro) delivers a solid bass-baritone performance as the ultimate cocky player. Anne Schwanewilms (Countess) laments the loss of her husband’s affections in a gorgeous rendition of “Porgi Amor”, and later vows to regain his love in “Dove Sono”. Within the frivolity of the frenzy of multiple charades, her arias are the quiet moments of true clarity and sadness of love lost. The Countess describes her husband as ‘modern: faithless, willful, not so much jealous, as vain.’ Mariusz Kwiecien (Count) embodies that description while – being the brunt of the shams – struggling at the same time. Kwiecien delivers his own spectacular aria “Vedro, mentr’io sospiro” with promises of vengeance to the pranksters. Joyce DiDonato (Cherubino) is a woman playing a boy sometimes playing a woman. She’s hilarious with her portrayal of a youth; a slave to his strong lustful infatuations. In a smaller role, Andrea Silvestrelli (Bartolo) makes his presence memorable with his booming bass singing. His aria “La vendetta” is magnificent. In particular, in one sequence, Silvestrelli squeezes his huge, rich voice through a series of rapid notes. Amazing.

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The Lyric Opera of Chicago has chosen to close its 2009-2010 season with a warhorse. Even to new opera goers, this Mozart’s masterpiece has familiar pieces. The overture and a few of the arias are used in movie scores to enhance themes of multiple plots colliding or love loss. The Lyric has cast it perfect and – under the guidance of Sir Andrew Davis at the baton – Marriage of Figaro hits all the right notes for high spirited high-jinx.  Highly recommended!

From the first note of the overture to the standing ovation, Marriage of Figaro is a flawless, fun farce!

Rating: ★★★★

 

Running Time: Three hours and forty-five minutes includes a thirty minute intermission

Note: Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte, based on Pierre-Augustin Beaumarchais’ play La folle journee, ou Le marriage de Figaro (1784).

View (2010-02) Marriage of Figaro - Lyric Opera

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Chicago Theater Show Openings

BAD GUYS IN SUITS – Apollo Studio Theatre

BANK OF A-MATTRESS-CA – Gorilla Tango Theatre

CHANSONS D’AMOUR – Chicago a cappella

A CHORUS LINE – Ford Center for the Performing Arts/Oriental Theatre

COMEDY AFTER CURFEW – Cornservatory

GHOSTS – Storefront Theater

THE LONG COUNT – New Leaf Theatre

LYSISTRATA – Dominican University Performing Arts Center

THE MIRACLE WORKER – Lincoln Square Theatre

MOJO – Chicago ScriptWorks

MOVEMENT/GENTLEMEN – Storefront Theater

MOVIN’ OUT – Paramount Theatre

MOZART’S LA CLEMENZA DI TITO – Chicago Opera Theater

THE OVERWHELMING – Next Theatre

PAT PATTON – Cornservatory

RED NOSES – Strawdog Theatre

THE RIVALS – Polarity Ensemble Theatre

SKETCHBOOK FESTIVAL – Collaboraction Theatre

URINETOWN – The Theatre School at DePaul University

WHAT IS LOVE? – Gorilla Tango Theatre

Theater Thursday: Mozart’s "La Clemenza di Tito"

Thursday, April 16

Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito

Chicago Opera Theater
Harris Theater in Millenium Park
205 E. Randolph St., Chicago

titoimageYour evening will include a pre-opera reception at Tavern at the Park (130 E. Randolph) with 2 free drinks (wine or beer only) and light appetizers followed by the final dress rehearsal of La Clemenza di Tito. Don’t miss this Wolfang Amadeus Mozart masterpiece. While absent from Chicago for more than a generation, this towering tour de force has made a resurgence in the rest of the world, most notably at New York’s Metropolitan Opera and the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center.
Event begins at 6 p.m., show at 7:30pm
TICKETS ONLY $30
For reservations call 312.704.8414 and mention “Theater Thursdays.”

 

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All Theater Thursday postings sponsored by this fine entertainment accessory retailer.

Chicago Theater tidbits: Batsheva Dance Company, Village Players, "Don’t Dress for Dinner"

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A post-performance chat with Batsheva Dance Company Artistic Director Ohad Naharin will be held immediately following the Feb. 7 (opening night) performance at the Auditorium Theatre. Dance critic Lucia Mauro will moderate. Returning to Chicago for the first time in 15 years, Batsheva Dance Company of Israel will present Naharin’s signature work “Deca Dance”.  The renowned company will perform for 2 evenings only, Feb 7th and 8th.  Tickets: thru Ticketmaster or calling 312.902.1500.  (See pics above)
   

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Don’t worry, although I have my YouTube series “Sunday Night Sondheim”, I won’t add “Monday Morning Pope“.
   

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The world-premier musical “Far From Freud”, presented by Oak Park’s Village Players, has added one final performance – Friday, January 30th at 8pm.  “Far From Freud” is written by Phil Riegle and directed by Christopher Pazdernik.  [Listen to one of the show’s songs “How It’s Gonna Be” by clicking here.]
   

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On this day in history (January 27th): In 1885 stage and screen composer Jerome Kern was born in New York.  And it just so happens that another composer was also born on the 27th: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, born in Salzburg in 1756.
   

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Darren Pettie will join the cast of British Stage Company’s screwball comedy Don’t Dress for Dinner“, by Marc Camoletti and directed by John Tilling. Other members of the ensemble include Mark Harelik (Light In The Piazza) and Patricia Kalember of “thirtysomething” and “Sisters“. Running through February at The Royal George, more info can be found at the show’s website.
   

Video Clip from ‘Don’t Dress for Dinner’