The University of Ottawa Opera Company will present three performances of Mozart’s masterpiece The Marriage of Figaro, January 25-27. The production includes more than 20 vocal soloists and chorus members, accompanied by chamber orchestra under the baton of maestro Alain Trudel. A tale of love, trickery, gender and class struggles, Figaro is as relevant today as when it was premiered more than two centuries ago.
Celebrating its 20th year of complete opera productions, uOttawa’s student opera company is directed by Sandra Graham, adjunct professor of voice in the School of Music. Professor Graham has been working with the singers along with a team of teaching assistants, rehearsal pianists, stage technicians and costume designers for nearly a year to ensure a finished product that will be both engaging and accessible. Along those lines, the production will alternate between the original Italian text and English translation.
The Marriage of Figaro, the first of Mozart’s three collaborations with renowned librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte, was premiered just five years before the composer’s death. Both at the height of their creative powers, Mozart and Da Ponte explored themes of feminism and equal rights that were revolutionary for the time, basing their work on the play by Pierre Beaumarchais that had been initially banned by King Louis VXI before finally seeing the light of day on the eve of the French Revolution. As Professor Graham explains, while “it’s all about sexual harassment and social commentary,” uOttawa’s performance of Figaro will also be “a barrel of laughs.” Adding that even those who are new to opera needn’t be shy, Graham invited those who are hesitant to “come in and enjoy and bring your friends – and children.”
Performances will be at St. Brigid’s Centre for the Arts (310 St. Patrick St.) on Thursday and Friday, January 25th and 26th at 7:30 pm and Saturday, January 27th at 2:00 pm. Tickets are available for purchase on-line on Eventbrite. For further information check on line at www.arts.uottawa.ca/live/music or call 613-562-5733.
— Gabriel Shapiro