Sunday, May 3, 2009

Opera Delaware's "The Marriage of Figaro"

My body shuddered uncontrollably. My entire being was wracked with a pain felt only by Prometheus on the rock. I glanced at this famous quote. Was it true? Could this be so? Was Aisle Say channeling with the great Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart?

“The Marriage of Figaro” the opera by Mozart, was commissioned by his benefactor Emperor Joseph II of Austria. On opening night in Vienna on May 1, 1786, after the Emperor congratulated the composer, he added this caveat: "You must admit, however, my dear Mozart, that there are a great many notes in your score."

"Not one too many, Sire," was Mozart’s reply.

Every week Aisle Say hears the same dispiriting diatribe from my otherwise enchantingly effervescent editor at The Community News.

I hear you, Amadeus, my bro.

But I digress. Joseph II had the last word: upon reflection, he considered the piece inflammatory and banned it in Austria. (It was a tumultuous time in Europe -- only 10 years before the French Revolution, and the title character, a servant, dares to make a fool of a royal.)

Yet, after Mozart's death, "The Marriage of Figaro" became his most popular comic opera, so although Joseph II may have had the last word, Mozart had the last laugh.

OperaDelaware Summer Youth Program

July 13 - Aug. 7

Mon. - Fri, 9 a.m - 4 p.m.

Each week-long session includes rehearsals, workshops and lessons in voice, costumes, movement, and painting. At the culmination of each session, students perform musical or opera scenes.

One-time-only offerings like prop building, dance, stage management, yoga and stage combat may be part of workshops.

No performance experience is necessary.


With good reason. The synopsis reads like a Marx Brothers movie.

The Count’s valet, Figaro, is about to marry the Countess’ maid, Susanna. However, the Count himself has designs on the young girl and wants to exert his ancient “feudal rights” and sleep with her on her wedding night. With the aid of Susanna and the Countess, Figaro hatches a plan to catch the Count and foil his intentions.

Two-and-one-half centuries later, with all its mistaken identities, hiding behind arrases, cross dressing and gorgeous music, "Figaro" -- OperaDelaware's season finale -- promises to be as fresh and fun as ever.

The show runs May 3 at 2 p.m. and May 8 and 9 at 8 p.m. at the Grand Opera House, at 818 N. Market St. in Wilmington. Tickets start at $25. For more information, call 800-37-GRAND or visit


Jay said...

I saw the opening performance yesterday and had a fun time. (This is my all-time favorite opera.) I especially liked Figaro (hard to believe that this was his first time in the role, if I recall correctly), Susanna, Cherubino, and Dr. Bartolo. The last two were as good as you're likely to hear & see anywhere.

The staging was so-so for me. I thought it was very effective to have Figaro come into the audience for "Aprite un po' quegli occhi." But having the action in every act center on a bed didn't work, especially in act four, when there was a bed "outside."

bmeredith said...

Sounded great but looked like a high school production. Might not have been so noticeable if the Grand were not such a beautiful space. Everything was so distracting. Definitely not the calibre of show I saw last season. The staging was stagnant as well. Why not just do a concert version if they're trying to save money? This looked shoddy.