Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780393088953.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Performances

Ermonela Jaho in a stunning Butterfly at Covent Garden

Ermonela Jaho is fast becoming a favourite of Covent Garden audiences, following her acclaimed appearances in the House as Mimì, Manon and Suor Angelica, and on the evidence of this terrific performance as Puccini’s Japanese ingénue, Cio-Cio-San, it’s easy to understand why. Taking the title role in the first of two casts for this fifth revival of Moshe Leiser’s and Patrice Caurier’s 2003 production of Madame Butterfly, Jaho was every inch the love-sick 15-year-old: innocent, fresh, vulnerable, her hope unfaltering, her heart unwavering.

Brave but flawed world premiere: Fortress Europe in Amsterdam

Calliope Tsoupaki’s latest opera, Fortress Europe, premiered as spring began taming the winter storms in the Mediterranean.

New Sussex Opera: A Village Romeo and Juliet

To celebrate its 40th anniversary New Sussex Opera has set itself the challenge of bringing together the six scenes - sometimes described as six discrete ‘tone poems’ - which form Delius’s A Village Romeo and Juliet into a coherent musico-dramatic narrative.

La voix humaine: Opera Holland Park at the Royal Albert Hall

Reflections on former visits to Opera Holland Park usually bring to mind late evening sunshine, peacocks, Japanese gardens, the occasional chilly gust in the pavilion and an overriding summer optimism, not to mention committed performances and strong musical and dramatic values.

London Handel Festival: Handel's Faramondo at the RCM

Written at a time when both his theatrical business and physical health were in a bad way, Handel’s Faramondo was premiered at the King’s Theatre in January 1738, fared badly and sank rapidly into obscurity where it languished until the late-twentieth century.

Brahms A German Requiem, Fabio Luisi, Barbican London

Fabio Luisi conducted the London Symphony Orchestra in Brahms A German Requiem op 45 and Schubert, Symphony no 8 in B minor D759 ("Unfinished").at the Barbican Hall, London.

Káťa Kabanová in its Seattle début

The atmosphere was a bit electric on February 25 for the opening night of Leoš Janàček’s 1921 domestic tragedy, and not entirely in a good way.

Festival Mémoires in Lyon

Each March France's splendid Opéra de Lyon mounts a cycle of operas that speak to a chosen theme. Just now the theme is Mémoires -- mythic productions of famed, now dead, late 20th century stage directors. These directors are Klaus Michael Grüber (1941-2008), Ruth Berghaus (1927-1996), and Heiner Müller (1929-1995).

Christoph Prégardien and Julius Drake at the Wigmore Hall

The latest instalment of Wigmore Hall’s ambitious two-year project, ‘Schubert: The Complete Songs’, was presented by German tenor Christoph Prégardien and pianist Julius Drake.

La Tragédie de Carmen at San Diego

On March 10, 2017, San Diego Opera presented an unusual version of Georges Bizet’s Carmen called La Tragédie de Carmen (The Tragedy of Carmen).

Kasper Holten's farewell production at the ROH: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

For his farewell production as director of opera at the Royal Opera House, Kasper Holten has chosen Wagner’s only ‘comedy’, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: an opera about the very medium in which it is written.

AZ Musicfest Presents Mendelssohn's Italian Symphony and Leoncavallo's Pagliacci

The dramatic strength that Stage Director Michael Scarola drew from his Pagliacci cast was absolutely amazing. He gave us a sizzling rendition of the libretto, pointing out every bit of foreshadowing built into the plot.

Premiere: Riders of the Purple Sage

On February 25, 2017, in Tucson and on the following March 3 in Phoenix, Arizona Opera presented its first world premiere, Craig Bohmler and Steven Mark Kohn’s Riders of the Purple Sage.

English Touring Opera Spring 2017: a disappointing Tosca

During the past few seasons, English Touring Opera has confirmed its triple-value: it takes opera to the parts of the UK that other companies frequently fail to reach; its inventive, often theme-based, programming and willingness to take risks shine a light on unfamiliar repertory which invariably offers unanticipated pleasures; the company provides a platform for young British singers who are easing their way into the ‘industry’, assuming a role that latterly ENO might have been expected to fulfil.

Matthias Goerne : Mahler Eisler Wigmore Hall

A song cycle within a song symphony - Matthias Goerne's intriuging approach to Mahler song, with Marcus Hinterhäuser, at the Wigmore Hall, London. Mahler's entire output can be described as one vast symphony, spanning an arc that stretches from his earliest songs to the sketches for what would have been his tenth symphony. Song was integral to Mahler's compositional process, germinating ideas that could be used even in symphonies which don't employ conventional singing.

A Merry Falstaff in San Diego

On February 21, 2017, San Diego Opera presented Giuseppe Verdi’s last composition, Falstaff, at the Civic Theater. Although this was the second performance in the run and the 21st was a Tuesday, there were no empty seats to be seen. General Director David Bennett assembled a stellar international cast that included baritone Roberto de Candia in the title role and mezzo-soprano Marianne Cornetti singing her first Mistress Quickly.

New Production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute at Lyric Opera, Chicago

In Neil Armfield’s new production of Die Zauberflöte at Lyric Opera of Chicago the work is performed as entertainment on a summer’s night staged by neighborhood children in a suburban setting. The action takes place in the backyard of a traditional house, talented performers collaborate with neighborhood denizens, and the concept of an onstage audience watching this play yields a fresh perspective on staging Mozart’s opera.

A Salome to Remember

Patricia Racette’s Salome is an impetuous teenage princess who interrupts the royal routine on a cloudy night by demanding to see her stepfather’s famous prisoner. Racette’s interpretation makes her Salome younger than the characters portrayed by many of her famous colleagues of the past. This princess plays mental games with Jochanaan and with Herod. Later, she plays a physical game with the gruesome, natural-looking head of the prophet.

L’Elisir d’Amore Goes On Despite Storm

On February 17, 2017 Pacific Opera Project performed Gaetano Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore at the Ebell Club in Los Angeles. After that night, it can be said that neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night can stay this company from putting on a fine show. Earlier in the day the Los Angeles area was deluged with heavy rain that dropped up to an inch of water per hour. That evening, because of a blown transformer, there was no electricity in the Ebell Club area.

Boris Godunov in Marseille

There has been much reconstruction of Marseille’s magnificent Opera Municipal since it opened in 1787. Most recently a huge fire in 1919 provoked a major, five-year renovation of the hall and stage that reopened in 1924.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Performances

Craig Colclough as Mr Conti with Maria Elena Altany as Susana [Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Opera]
26 Jan 2015

LA Opera Presents Figaro 90210

Figaro 90210 is Vid Guerrerio’s modern version of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Lorenzo DaPonte’s 1786 opera, The Marriage of Figaro.

LA Opera Presents Figaro 90210

A review by Maria Nockin

Above: Craig Colclough as Mr Conti with Maria Elena Altany as Susana

Photos courtesy of Los Angeles Opera

 

The updating was only evident in the text. None of the music was changed, although Los Angeles Opera cut a good bit of it for the performances at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre. On opening night, January 16, 2015, stage director Melissa Crespo told the story of undocumented workers in today’s California caught in the same situations that librettist DaPonte and author Caron de Beaumarchais wrote about over 200 years before. Just as in the original, the servant who had to be clever in order to keep his job also learned how to outwit his master.

In the Guerrerio version, Count and Countess Almaviva became the wealthy Mr. and Mrs. Conti. As a child, Figaro was found in a Rosarito bar wearing a Dodgers cap inscribed with the words Baby America. Thus, he insisted that American parents left him there. Susana was an undocumented worker from Mexico whom Mr. Conti threatened with deportation if she did not sleep with him. The most interesting character was the youngster that Guerrerio created to replace Cherubino: Bernard Curson, known as hip-hop artist Lil' B-Man. This scruffy teenager was in love with every woman on the property while singing Mozart, but with Bradon McDonald’s imaginative costuming, tenor Orson Van Gay II appeared to be a wild eyed rapper.

Figaro90210_BG_610_1988pub.pngJosé Adán Pérez and Maria Elena Altany as Figaro and Susana

José Adán Pérez was an endearing Figaro whose antics seemed entire logical, but vocally he was no match for Craig Colclough who sang a memorable rendition of Mr. Conti's music. Maria Elena Altany was a charming Susana who sang with a small but untiring voice. As Roxanne Conti, Greta Baldwin was a cool beauty with a soaring, creamy sound. Many characters were changed visually, but they all had to sing their usual lines in the ensembles.

Don Curzio became Bernard’s mother, Donna Curson, who tried hard to chaperone her son and young Barbara Conti. Amber Mercomes was an efficient Donna and Hayden Eberhart a delightfully gothic Barbara. Basilio, the dancing master, became Basel, an amusing English teacher who wore pink shoes. Tenor Haqumai Waring Sharpe played him to the hilt while singing with exemplary diction.

Miki Yamashita as businesswoman Soon-Yi Nam was the modern Marcellina who had brought Susana across the border. As Babayan, her enforcer, F. Scott Levin sang Bartolo’s quick and demanding patter with aplomb. Eventually, they admit to being the parents who left baby Figaro in Rosarito. As with the original opera, everything worked out perfectly in the end. Roxanne Conti forgave her philandering husband and Figaro, now a citizen, was able to marry Susana and keep her from being deported.

Performed in a three hundred-seat hall, Figaro 90210 was accompanied by piano, two violins, cello, bass and guitar. Conductor Douglas Kinney Frost brought out all the memorable melodies in the original score and after the first few minutes the listener was no longer conscious of the size of the orchestra. This was a very different version of the Mozart-DaPonte masterpiece, but it worked well in Southern California. The audience loved it and at least one extra performance has had to be scheduled.

Maria Nockin


Cast and production information:

Figaro, José Adán Pérez; Susana, Maria Elena Altany; Paul Conti, Craig Colclough; Roxanne Conti, Greta Baldwin; Barbara Conti, Hayden Eberhart; Donna Curson, Amber Mercomes; Bernard Curson, aka Lil' B-Man, Orson Van Gay II; Soon-Yi Nam, Miki Yamashita; Babayan, E. Scott Levin; Basel, Haqumai Waring Sharpe; Atzuko, David Castillo; Conductor, David Kinney Frost; Director Melissa Crespo; Scenery Designer, Sibyl Wickersheimer; Costume Designer, Bradon McDonald; Projection and Lighting Designer, Tom Ontiveros.

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):