Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



Plumbago_9780993198359_1.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Performances

A Musical Reunion at Garsington Opera

The hum of bees rising from myriad scented blooms; gentle strains of birdsong; the cheerful chatter of picnickers beside a still lake; decorous thwacks of leather on willow; song and music floating through the warm evening air.

'In my end is my beginning': Mark Padmore and Mitsuko Uchida perform Winterreise at Wigmore Hall

All good things come to an end, so they say. Let’s hope that only the ‘good thing’ part of the adage is ever applied to Wigmore Hall, and that there is never any sign of ‘an end’.

Iestyn Davies and Elizabeth Kenny bring 'sweet music' to Wigmore Hall

Countertenor Iestyn Davies and lutenist Elizabeth Kenny kicked off the final week of live lunchtime recitals broadcast online and on radio from Wigmore Hall.

From Our House to Your House: live from the Royal Opera House

I’m not ashamed to confess that I watched this live performance, streamed from the stage of the Royal Opera House, with a tear in my eye.

Woman’s Hour with Roderick Williams and Joseph Middleton at Wigmore Hall

At the start of this lunchtime recital, Roderick Williams set out the rationale behind the programme that he and pianist Joseph Middleton presented at Wigmore Hall, bringing to a close a second terrific week of live lunchtime broadcasts, freely accessible via Wigmore Hall’s YouTube channel and BBC Radio 3.

Natalya Romaniw - Arion: Voyage of a Slavic Soul

Sailing home to Corinth, bearing treasures won in a music competition, the mythic Greek bard, Arion, found his golden prize coveted by pirates and his life in danger.

Purcell’s The Indian Queen from Lille

Among the few compensations opera lovers have had from the COVID crisis is the abundance – alas, plethora – of streamed opera productions we might never have seen or even known of without it.

Philip Venables' Denis & Katya: teenage suicide and audience complicity

As an opera composer, Philip Venables writes works quite unlike those of many of his contemporaries. They may not even be operas at all, at least in the conventional sense - and Denis & Katya, the most recent of his two operas, moves even further away from this standard. But what Denis & Katya and his earlier work, 4.48 Psychosis, have in common is that they are both small, compact forces which spiral into extraordinarily powerful and explosive events.

A new, blank-canvas Figaro at English National Opera

Making his main stage debut at ENO with this new production of The Marriage of Figaro, theatre director Joe Hill-Gibbins professes to have found it difficult to ‘develop a conceptual framework for the production to inhabit’.

Massenet’s Chérubin charms at Royal Academy Opera

“Non so più cosa son, cosa faccio … Now I’m fire, now I’m ice, any woman makes me change colour, any woman makes me quiver.”

Bluebeard’s Castle, Munich

Last year the world’s opera companies presented only nine staged runs of Béla Bartòk’s Bluebeard’s Castle.

The Queen of Spades at Lyric Opera of Chicago

If obsession is key to understanding the dramatic and musical fabric of Tchaikovsky’s opera The Queen of Spades, the current production at Lyric Opera of Chicago succeeds admirably in portraying such aspects of the human psyche.

WNO revival of Carmen in Cardiff

Unveiled by Welsh National Opera last autumn, this Carmen is now in its first revival. Original director Jo Davies has abandoned picture postcard Spain and sun-drenched vistas for images of grey, urban squalor somewhere in modern-day Latin America.

Lise Davidsen 'rescues' Tobias Kratzer's Fidelio at the Royal Opera House

Making Fidelio - Beethoven’s paean to liberty, constancy and fidelity - an emblem of the republican spirit of the French Revolution is unproblematic, despite the opera's censor-driven ‘Spanish’ setting.

A sunny, insouciant Così from English Touring Opera

Beach balls and parasols. Strolls along the strand. Cocktails on the terrace. Laura Attridge’s new production of Così fan tutte which opened English Touring Opera’s 2020 spring tour at the Hackney Empire, is a sunny, insouciant and often downright silly affair.

A wonderful role debut for Natalya Romaniw in ENO's revival of Minghella's Madama Butterfly

The visual beauty of Anthony Minghella’s 2005 production of Madama Butterfly, now returning to the Coliseum stage for its seventh revival, still takes one’s breath away.

Charlie Parker’s Yardbird at Seattle

It appears that Charlie Parker’s Yardbird has reached the end of its road in Seattle. Since it opened in 2015 at Opera Philadelphia it has played Arizona, Atlanta, Chicago, New York, and the English National Opera.

La Périchole in Marseille

The most notable of all Péricholes of Offenbach’s sentimental operetta is surely the legendary Hortense Schneider who created the role back in 1868 at Paris’ Théâtre des Varietés. Alas there is no digital record.

Three Centuries Collide: Widmann, Ravel and Beethoven

It’s very rare that you go to a concert and your expectation of it is completely turned on its head. This was one of those. Three works, each composed exactly a century apart, beginning and ending with performances of such clarity and brilliance.

Seventeenth-century rhetoric from The Sixteen at Wigmore Hall

‘Yes, in my opinion no rhetoric more persuadeth or hath greater power over the mind; hath not Musicke her figures, the same which Rhetorique? What is a but her Antistrophe? her reports, but sweet Anaphora's? her counterchange of points, Antimetabole's? her passionate Aires but Prosopopoea's? with infinite other of the same nature.’

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):