Meadows Opera Theatre opens 2012 with The Marriage of Figaro

John Hendricks as Figaro and Julie Marx as Susanna in the 2012 Meadows Opera Theatre production of The Marriage of Figaro. Photo by Kim Ritzenthaler.

Cupid is at work and at play on Figaro and Susanna’s wedding day – but who is wooing whom?

Just in time for Valentine’s Day month, Meadows Opera Theatre and the Meadows Symphony Orchestra bring to life a cornerstone of the operatic repertoire, The Marriage of Figaro. The production runs Feb. 2-5, 2012, in the Bob Hope Theatre, Owen Arts Center.

The Marriage of Figaro – with or without its alternate title that translates as The Day of Madness – has charmed audiences since the debut of Pierre Beaumarchais’ original play in 1784. The working-class hero and heroine want only to celebrate their wedding in peace, but the competing agendas of friends, family members and even their aristocratic employers complicate the proceedings.

Count Almaviva, their master, has eyes for the bride, and a mysterious older woman lays claim to the groom. Countess Almaviva wants to win back her husband’s love, while the hormonal teenage page Cherubino wants to win the heart of every female he meets.

The play was banned in Vienna for a time because of its satire of the aristocracy, yet the 1786 opera became one of Mozart’s most successful works during his lifetime. (The composer himself directed its first two performances from the keyboard of his fortepiano.) It was the first of three collaborations with librettist Lorenzo da Ponte, with whom he also wrote Don Giovanni and Così fan tutte.

Njabulo Mthimkhulu as Count Almaviva, Julie Marx as Susanna and Paul Kroeger as Don Basilio in the 2012 Meadows Opera Theatre production of The Marriage of Figaro. Photo by Kim Ritzenthaler.

Mozart’s celebrated score will be performed by the Meadows Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Professor of Music and Director of Orchestral Activities Paul Phillips. Meadows Opera Theatre Director Hank Hammett directs the production, with choreography by Professor of Dance Danny Buraczeski.

The opera will be sung in Italian with projected English translation. Tickets are $7 each for SMU faculty, staff and students. Buy tickets for The Marriage of Figaro online at Vendini or contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

Find a complete cast list under the link below.

(in order of vocal appearance)

Figaro, the Count’s valet – John Hendricks
Susanna, the Countess’ maid, betrothed to Figaro – Dee Donasco*, Julie Marx**
Marcellina, former housekeeper to Bartolo – Tiffany S. Freeman*, Julie Dieltz**
Don Bartolo, a doctor from Seville – Joseph Holt
Cherubino, the Count’s page – Rachel Alexander*, Hannah A. Rigg**
Count Almaviva  – Glenn Ayars*, Njabulo Mthimkhulu**
Don Basilio, music master – Jeawook Lee*, Paul Kroeger**
Countess Almaviva – Coretta Smith*, Laura Smolik**
Antonio, gardener, Susanna’s uncle – Kiel King
Barbarina, Antonio’s daughter – Cecily Gordon*, Rebecca Roose**
Don Curzio, magistrate – Dameron Growe
First Bridesmaid – Rebecca Thompson*, Chelsi Clark**

* Thursday and Saturday performances
** Friday and Sunday performances