A star-studded ensemble will be joining forces with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra to present the concert version of Mozart’s famous comic opera The Marriage of Figaro tomorrow (Saturday, Feb. 3) at the Capitol Theatre. The performance is sold out, but the orchestra has opened up their dress rehearsal to the public on Friday (Feb. 2).
The all-star troupe – led by WSO Music Director Robert Franz – features Gene Wu as Count Almaviva, Colleen Daly as the Countess, Caitlin Wood in the role of Susanna, and the return of Clarence Frazer to the WSO Stage as Figaro. Also returning to perform with the WSO is tenor Ryan Downey, soprano Lesley Andrews, Bruce Kotowich. Newcomers to the WSO stage include Bass-Baritone Tom Goerz as Bartolo, mezzo-soprano Emma Char as Cherubino, and second year music student (UWindsor) Emily Houchen as Barbarina.
“When I arrived here five years ago we made a decision – and I’m really glad people were open to it – in doing a concert opera every second year,” Maestro Franz told YQG Rocks as the group was preparing for its nearly sold-out evening show and a special dress-rehearsal performance during the day. “This time we wanted to do a comedy and Marriage to Figaro is a hysterical slap stick kind of opera. But it’s also Mozart, so the music is exquisitely beautiful, very well crafted and really, really fun to perform. This opera is one of the big top 10 operas of all time so it was an easy choice.”
The Marriage of Figaro is a fantastic farce, continuing the story of the characters The Barber of Seville. The once young and romantic couple, Rosina and Count Almaviva, are now established in their estate near Seville, but their marriage is in a rocky state. Count Almaviva has now become an aggressive, manipulative womanizer, and Rosina, now the Countess, has become despondent and upset about the state of their relationship. Figaro is now employed as Count Almaviva’s personal butler, but the Count is actively pursuing Figaro’s fiancée, Susanna. The Count keeps putting off the wedding, finding ways to delay their union, even on the day of their planned wedding. Plots thicken, schemes are devised, and hilarity ensues in Mozart’s delightfully amusing opera.
Fiagro was the first opera I ever conducted,” Franz revealed. “About 15 years ago, I got a call that a conductor had backed out of doing the Marriage of Figaro and it was only a few weeks before the opening and they were having a hard time trying to find someone else. They called me and even though I had no experience conducting an opera, I immediately said yes. At that point, I always wanted to conduct an opera and I spent those weeks preparing like crazy. Since then I have performed bits and pieces of it many different times. I do something operatic every year in some shape or form, so it was an easy choice in that regard. It’s going to be fun to go back and it after that experience 15 years ago.”
The performance will be in Italian with subtitles displayed above the orchestra.
As of January 31, the Saturday evening event is sold out, however, single tickets may become available if patrons who are unable to attend notify the box office. Please check availability with the box office at 519-973-1238. Tickets are being offered for the Friday 7pm dress rehearsal for those who can’t get tickets to the full show and are interested in experiencing the opera – those tickets are only $5 each.