Valentine’s Day is right around the corner – so why not treat your lover or loved one to The Canadian Opera Company’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ as a holiday treat? Chocolates and bottles of wine are so passé – opera tickets is the ultimate Valentine’s gift.
Canadian Opera Company audiences will find themselves ensnared in a web of erotic passions with a new production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro this winter. One of the most beautiful and convincing operas about the fluid enchantments, maze-like confusions, and bouts of sheer blindness brought on by love. The Marriage of Figaro is on stage at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts for 8 performances from January 27, 29, February 2, 4, 10, 12, 16, and 18, 2023.
The audience is introduced to a stark yet grandiose dwelling curated by set and costume designer Christian Schmidt. The opera’s action all leads up to a dramatic showdown in the garden, cleverly created with shadows by video designer Andi A. Müller and lighting by Olaf Winter.
The Canadian Opera Company’s production of The Marriage of Figaro was originally built by the Salzburg Festival as the centre piece of its celebrations for the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth. It was hailed as a “masterpiece” (Bloomberg News) and was the hit of the 2006 Salzburg Festival – revived repeatedly in successive seasons since. German director Claus Guth is renowned for his innovative productions of classic operas and for this Figaro he draws visual and thematic inspiration from the films of Ingmar Bergman and the plays of Ibsen and Strindberg.
In Figaro, Mozart writes musical moments of unprecedented emotional impact and sensuality, delivering an opera that fuses comedy, tragedy and poetry to create one of the smartest and sharpest explorations of human relationships in all theatre. Mozart’s score oozes depth, sex appeal and the moors of darkness within the confines of a relationship. As the performance unfolds we breathe in Figaro, Susanna, The Count and Countess at their best and their worst. How could we not squirm in our seats and think of our own past (or present) dalliances in the pitch of the honeymoon period to the equivalent of the February blues? Anxiety, self doubt, confusion and grief all play a part. The reality is these flavours run through our veins throughout the course of our relationships. The Canadian Opera Company’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ is a wonderful reflection within ourselves and the health of our romantic lives.
Cherubim’s insertion of humour as he sprinkled feathers and imaginary cupid arrows at the characters added a touch of whimsy, delight and giddy smiles throughout the production. Again, a lovely reminder that even in the darkest of times we need laughter to pull us through.
A sparkling cast has been assembled for this magnificent, witty farce that finds Figaro and Susanna’s wedding in jeopardy due to the wandering eye of their employer, the Count. The ensuing intrigue and mistaken identities lead all the characters to experience intense human passions as they’re torn between morality, desire and impulse. Italian bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni returns to Toronto as Figaro with effervescence. The Canadian Opera Company introduces American soprano Andrea Carroll, in the lead role of the cheeky Susanna. Australian soprano Lauren Fagan, injects the Countess with a deep longing. Canadian bass-baritone and Ensemble graduate Gordon Bintner return with his remarkable take on the Count. American mezzo-soprano Emily Fons plays the amusing Cherubino, Canadian bass Robert Pomokov as Dr. Bartolo and Irish-Canadian tenor Michael Colvin take on the roles of the music teacher Don Basilio. Canadian baritone Doug MacNaughton and Canadian-American soprano Mireille Assselin offers us a place to linger in their roles of the gardener Antonio and his daughter Barbarina. Cherubim, an additional silent character seen throughout the opera, often manipulating other characters and representing love’s forceful push and pull; he is played by German actor Uli Kirsch, who reprises the role from 2016.
The Canadian Opera Company’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ is perfect for the novice opera goer. It is a modern piece, the staging architecture will make you swoon in its crown mouldings and sweeping staircase glory, the rich characterization of the talent and song will make your knees shake in your seat and the orchestral accompaniment will make you wonder why you haven’t come to the opera sooner.
British conductor Harry Bicket, current Music Director with Santa Fe Opera, returns to the COC podium to lead the company’s acclaimed COC Orchestra through one of Mozart’s most brilliant and powerful scores, alongside the COC Chorus guided by Price Family Chorus Master Sandra Horst. The Marriage of Figaro is sung in Italian and presented by the COC with English SURTITLES™.
Happy Valentine’s Day!