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Split personality. Liking the arts, especially opera, and hockey and Los Toros. I know, I know THAT one is non pc currently. But I can't help it saw some in Spain and got hooked, but good. But on the other hand right now opera and hockey are in the forefront!


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Going to The Marriage..

'The Marriage of Figaro', of course!
Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to a libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte,
as performed at The Houston Grand Opera.

An old familiar set welcomed us with bright cheerfulness.
Originally created by Goeran Jaervefelt - we saw its first airing at the HGO Mozart Anniversary year in 1991. It has survived over 2 decades because of its classic elegantly simple design.
No clutter, not fuzziness, just clean lines and hues.
Designed to let the voices shine.

And they did.
Bass Baritone Luca Pisaroni debut as Count Almaviva and at HGO was a slender, tall figure of - shall we say- regal appearance with a rich sound.
Not only delicious to look at, he also sang very well, indeed. 

Ladies, such a Count could demand and get his Droit de Seigneur rather easily ;-) right!....(BUT he is happily married to the daughter of another famous interpreter of both Figaro and The Count -Thomas Hampson).
My how the times flies... I remember Hampson.

As I remember Susanne Mentzer (Mezzo-HGOStudio alumna) as Cherubino back then,
today she was Marcellina in a red wig.
She still has it, and her Marcellina was fun to watch and a pleasure to hear.
Today's Cherubino, sung by another HGOstudio alumna,
Mezzo Marie Lenormand, entirely credible as teenage wannabe lover of all woman, the Countess, Susanna and Barbarina! I enjoyed her mesmerizing rich mezzosoprano a lot. 
Don't know if she is related to Marie Anne Lenormand, the 18th century professional oracle after whom a Tarot Deck was named..the Tarot Lenormand!
Figaro, the count's valet, was sung by Patrick Carfizzi, whose bass-baritone is familiar to us from many previous appearances. And again, he most certainly did not disappoint. 

Both Countess and Susanna were sung by debuting Sopranos. 
Ellie Dehn sang the Countess's fiendish arias, Porgi and Dove, with a creamy expressive voice. Negotiating both low and high notes with seeming ease. And looked most attractively the part.

Adriana Kucerova was a  frothy Susanna, singing beautifully.
IMO the duets between her and Carfizzi  utterly delighted.

Carlo Lepore as Dr. Bartolo used his bass fulsomely in this comic role.

Other smaller roles were filled by Jon Kolbet, tenor (HGOStudio alumnus); current Studio members, Soprano Kiri Deonarine,tenor Brendan Touhy, and Bass Baritone Michael Sumuel.
I also recognized  Cecilia Duarte (Cruzar la Cara de La Luna) as one of the peasant girls.
Maestro James Gaffigan also made his HGO debut, conducting with a fine Italianate touch.

Mozart composed this opera - I think - with the aim to give all singers ample space to shine.
All principals had their solo arias. There were duets (male/female; female/female; male/male), there were terzets, quartets, sextets and septets.
Plus a few choice chorus pieces. Again for both male, female and combined voices!
The story is at times slapstick with mixed up identities, love interests and more.
On the surface a convoluted but basically simple plot.
But dig deeper, and you'll find - highly unusual for Mozart's time - a critique of the ruling classes.
You do know surely, that then there was no public support of the arts.
All artists depended largely on the patronage of earls, counts, dukes, princes, kings and emperors!
Thus, to dare have servants best their masters...how revolutionary!

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