Putting a new spin on a famous comic opera

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Colin Milner as the Count and Katrina Wiseman as Susanna.

ANYONE who remembers the hilarious 1994 BBC production of “The Marriage of Figaro”, set in a National Trust estate house with the count depicted as a Tory Eurocrat, will know that Mozart’s famous comic opera is ripe for reinterpretation.

Viewers can fairly bet that director Peter Coleman-Wright will be planning some updating in National Opera’s one-hour “pocket” version of “Le Nozze di Figaro” in Wesley Uniting Church this weekend.

It’s the first in the fledgling company’s Pocket Opera series, which will provide the essence of the story and favourite musical moments without requiring the audience to sit through a full-length opera — perfect for newcomers to the art form.

Tristan Entwistle as Figaro and Michaella Edelstein as Cherubino.

With a special guest appearance from Sydney professional Tristan Entwistle as Figaro, the production will feature Canberra notables, including Colin Milner as the sleaze bag, Count Almaviva, Erika Tolano as his long-suffering Countess Rosina and Katrina Wiseman as Figaro’s fiancée, Susanna.

Coleman-Wright says of the casting: “We are committed to providing a safe and nurturing company to enable both seasoned Australian singers and those at the beginning of their career to feel included… I see our role as one of stewardship.”

“Day of madness – The Marriage of Figaro” is based on a famous play by French playwright Beaumarchais, and set over just one day – Figaro’s wedding day. But his master, the Count, plans on reinstating the abolished “Droit du seigneur”, which would allow him to have his way with servant girl Susanna on her wedding night.

Complications ensue when as part of a silly plan to thwart his intentions, the page, Cherubino, dressed in women’s clothes, is discovered by the hypocritically jealous Count.

Against the odds, Mozart (and Beaumarchais) produce a happy ending and opera concludes with some of the most glorious vocal ensemble singing the master ever wrote.

“Le Nozze di Figaro”, National Opera, at Wesley Uniting Church, 2pm and 6pm, Saturday, May 8. Each concert will be followed by light refreshments with the artists. Bookings here

 

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Helen Musa
“CityNews” arts editor

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