Although during the overture servants picked flowers that had sprung up from the bare stage, the production was completely traditional. Paul Brown’s scenery and costumes set the story in the time and place established by its original author, Caron de Beaumarchais.
On Thursday, August 8, Santa Fe Opera revived the Bruce Donnell production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. Although during the overture servants picked flowers that had sprung up from the bare stage, the production was completely traditional. Paul Brown’s scenery and costumes set the story in the time and place established by its original author, Caron de Beaumarchais.
Lisette Oropesa is an up-and-coming soprano who has established an excellent reputation for singing with luminous tones and precise coloratura. Her Susanna was flirty, saucy and passionate. Zachary Nelson’s Figaro was somewhat less authoritative because of the size of his voice, but his interpretation was persuasive. Susanna Phillips was a smooth, sumptuous-voiced Countess who sang a slow, drawn out ‘Porgi, amor, qualche ristoro’ (‘O Love, give me some remedy’) and an artfully phrased ‘Dove Sono, I bei momenti’ (‘Where are the beautiful moments?’). She was every inch the beautiful, loving, but neglected, wife.
As the Count, Daniel Okulitch was a most forceful character, you really felt that he would harm his wife if he saw evidence that she was unfaithful. He commanded the stage every moment he was on it and sang a most impressive ‘VedrÚ mentre io sospiro, felice un servo mio!’ (‘While I suffer, shall I see a servant of mine happy?’). He was not a nobleman to be trifled with.
Veteran mezzo Susanne Mentzer’s Marcellina was a youthful cougar who would not be denied a chance at married bliss. I wish they had included her aria. Dale Travis was a bumbling but robust-toned Bartolo who sang his piece with gusto. In the travesty part of Cherubino, Emily Fons really gave a boyish impression and sang her arias with solid tones. Kittenish apprentice Rachel Hall was the perfect mate for ‘him’ as she sang her simple aria with a clear, sweet voice. Keith Jameson was a nosy Basilio, while apprentice Adam Lau created a memorable character as the drunken gardener. As usual, Susanne Sheston’s apprentice chorus sang with precise harmonies. Conductor John Nelson’s tempi varied greatly, sometimes rather fast, at other times slow enough to require the utmost in breath control. Although this was not a perfect performance, it was a most enjoyable one.
image_description=Zachary Nelson as Figaro and Lisette Oropesa as Susanna [Photo by Ken Howard]
product_title=Santa Fe Opera Revives The Marriage of Figaro
product_by=A review by Maria Nockin
product_id=Above: Zachary Nelson as Figaro and Lisette Oropesa as Susanna [Photo by Ken Howard]