Opera Laurier does ‘Figaro’ justice
Over 150 people gathered in the Theatre Auditorium this past Sunday to experience Opera Laurier’s production of the Mozart classic, The Marriage of Figaro. The Marriage of Figaro, composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, is based on the stage comedy by Pierre Beaumarchais. In short, Figaro is engaged to be married to Susanna; both characters are among the Count’s staff in his home. However the Count has grown bored with his marriage to the Countess Almaviva and is taking notice of Susanna. The Count looks to steal her away for himself, in which he would complete the marriage with the bride-to-be prior to Figaro’s honeymoon.
The performance started with a small yet powerful musical interlude by the ambient orchestra. This set the tone for the entire production and got the audience ready for what was about to come. As the curtains opened and the two leads graced the stage, it was evident to see the level of commitment and talent that Opera Laurier had put in. Figaro (played by Andrew Rethazi) was consistent throughout the show and carried the often times confusing, plot line. His counterpart and love interest, Susanna (played by Melody Thomas) was also extremely well received.
As the performance continued, some even more remarkable roles came to the stage. The Countess Almaviva (played by Samantha Pickett) was a true standout performance. Her vocal skills were jaw dropping as she displayed an array of octaves from start to finish. The trouser role—when a male character is played by a woman—of Cherubino (played by Emma Mansell) was another notable performance as she seamlessly embodied the role of mischievous young male servant.
Along with the strong performances from the ensemble cast, the 35-piece orchestra was what really tied the production together. With direction from musical director Leslie De’Ath, the orchestra gave the performance a much more dynamic and sonically stimulating setting. From the strong lead violin to the fluttering harpsichord, every instrument was on point in turn complimenting the simultaneous acting. Not only was the skill level from the actors and orchestra top notch, but the overall story was pretty humorous, this production was a true opera buffa. The comedic nature of the plot allowed for the actors to have a little fun with their recitative and delivery.
Stage director, Rob Herriot stated in his director note that “there is of course the drama, but more importantly there is the comedy.” He also goes onto say that “Mozart was one composer who really got comedy.” This understanding of comedy coupled with the dramatic elements of the performance was definitely appreciated and greatly absorbed by the audience. From beginning to end, Opera Laurier’s presentation of The Marriage of Figaro constantly delivered a skillful, exciting and humorous opera. The transcendent acting and perfectly executed musical accompaniment contributed to the aura of drama and comedy that kept the audience laughing out loud and totally engaged.