Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn
milwaukeesfs

Florentine Opera, “The Marriage of Figaro.”

On Sunday, May 12th, we saw and heard a very fine production of Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” (“Le Nozze di Figaro”. Of course, we’ve seen numerous “Figaro’s,” but this was one of the best. The acting was excellent, the singing overall excellent, costumes attractive, and there was an interesting and beautiful set. The period-sized orchestra, directed by Maestro Joseph Rescigno, delivered Mozart’s music flawlessly, at least to my ear.

The one thing that was less than excellent was the singing of Daniel Belcher, in the role of Figaro. His voice seemed harsh and lacking both flexibility and luster in his upper registers. Mr. Belcher has performed at the Florentine before, as Figaro in “The Barber of Seville” in 2007, and Taddeo in “L’italiana in Algeri” in 2011, and we didn’t notice this, so perhaps he was just not in good voice on Sunday.

Perhaps this was a factor, and perhaps also the clever and busy stage direction by Candace Evans was a factor, but we found many new things in this “Marriage,” among them the extent to which Suzanna (Jamie-Rose Guarrine) and Count Amalvia (Craig Verm) are the real protagonist and antagonist in this show. Both of them have a lot more music, action and stage time than Figaro does, and it is ultimately Suzanna, with the help of the Countess (Diana Mc Vey), who engineers Amalvia’s comeuppance while Figaro misunderstands what’s going on.

All the other actors sang well, and there was excellent comic acting by all, including Adriana Zabala as an appropriately boyish Cherubino, Matthew Lau as Dr. Bartolo, Jenni Bank as Marcellina, and Frank Kelley, who, as the supposed music master Don Basilo, accomplished the difficult feat of “conducting” in four beats while the orchestra and on-stage chorus were performing in three.

The supertitles, while generally spare, did an adequate job of getting across the gist of the libretto, while adding some clever bits during the scene changes, such as “Now we go to the chamber of Rosina, Countess Amalvia . . .remember her from ‘Barber of Seville’?”

We enjoyed this production very much, and it currently holds the top place in memory of “Marriages” we have seen.

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Tags: opera
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