Updated Thu, Nov 21, 2013 11:09 am
Photos by Brooke Herbert Hayes
From the opening strains of the overture to the Count’s plea for forgiveness in Act IV, Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) is full of familiar melodies.
It continues to be one of the most popular operas across the country and throughout the world, and the Opera Theater in Ohio University's School of Music is bringing it back to Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 22 and 23, at 7:30 pm.
Maestro Steven Huang, who was also at the podium when the piece was last performed in 2005, considers "The Marriage of Figaro the first modern opera. Mozart and Da Ponte present realistic people in realistic situations, as opposed to the old demigods and mythical stories of older operas. In both words and music, there is a depth of humanity and character that we can instantly relate to."
This cast has been working on this music since the beginning of summer and current graduate students Ericka Hopkins (Susanna), Daniel Drumm (Figaro), and Alyssa Lieth (Countess) carry the leading roles. It also features a guest to Athens: Preston Orr as the Count.
Mr. Orr, from Henderson, Texas, recently completed his Master of Music degree at Indiana University. Ellen Estes (Cherubino), Christian Lindsay (Basilio/Curzio), Samual Witmer (Antonio/Bartolo), Kaitrin McCoy (Marcellina) and Ashley Andrews (Barbarina) round out the principal characters.
"This has been a labor of love for more than this cast. The voice faculty and vocal coaches have offered many extra hours to help make sure the singers look and feel comfortable in their roles," said stage director Philip Christiansen.
Also assisting in making the performers look good are the numerous designers: local, Nellie Werger (costumes); guest, Bob Diven (set); and student Kevin Arsenijevic (lighting).
As originally written, the opera runs close to four hours. However opera, as an event, has evolved over time and traditional edits will bring the show down to a manageable two-and-a-half hour production.
"We have made the typical cuts, and none of the known tunes will be missing," added Christiansen. "We are so glad that we had the personnel to bring this amazing piece to the Athens and university community."
Ohio University students will be admitted free with OU ID. Public tickets are $15, or $6 for seniors and other students. Phone 740-593-1780 for reservations and information.