Written for CityScene Magazine, February, 2011
Forget all you’ve heard about fat opera singers rolling their eyes back as they warble through slow scenes of melodrama. Opera Columbus knows how to keep the attention of a modern audience – and produce a few laughs.
Opera Columbus presents Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro at 8 p.m. Feb. 11 and 2 p.m. Feb. 13 at the Ohio Theatre.
Among the best-known classical operas, The Marriage of Figaro was actually quite controversial in its time. Written on the fringe of the French Revolution, it was banned from the stage for depicting a negative image of the aristocracy, making its servants appear more intelligent than its members.
“We chose this piece because it’s one of the most popular operas ever written,” says Opera Columbus Artistic Director Bill Boggs. “It’s just such a great piece. This is a piece about rebellion, and it’s funny – as we see here, with three couples and the hilarities of love.”
Opera Columbus will be staging the play in a different way than usual. Instead of the accompanying Columbus Symphony Orchestra being down in the orchestra pitm between the audience and the cast, the symphony is going to be behind the cast on the stage.
“We decided to put the symphony behind the cast in order to achieve a more dramatic impact,” says Boggs. “Besides, it’s really important to close that gap between the cast and audience, because with an opera this funny, it’s important that the audience feel they are a part of the action, so to speak.”
Opera Columbus is co-producing The Marriage of Figaro with Nashville Opera. The show has already been performed in Nashville and was received warmly by audiences there, Boggs says.
“It’s fast paced, a lot of fun and nobody dies,” he says.