Amarillo Opera's 'Figaro' to emphasize classic's high-energy, farcical elements
By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
Look for high energy and physicality in Amarillo Opera's stripped-down production of The Marriage of Figaro on Saturday and Sunday.
"There are some very, very strong French farce elements, and the characters are very Commedia dell'arte," said stage director Dean Anthony. "That offers itself up for me as a movement-oriented director.
"We're keeping the set very lean, very open. I like that so that there's a clean (approach to) comedy."
It's a fresh take on an opera composed and originally staged 230 years ago, when Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart adapted the French comedy La folle journée, ou le Mariage de Figaro ("The Mad Day, or The Marriage of Figaro"). It continues the story of The Barber of Seville, with Count Almaviva (played here by James Wright) chasing after Figaro's intended, Susanna (Madison Leonard), and Dr. Bartolo (Aidan Smerud) looking for revenge against the titular valet.
"The music just soars, and it's really Mozart's best piece," said David O'Dell, the opera company's general director. "This cast is wonderul. We're really fortunate tohave them."
Though the humor will be amped up in the production, Darren K. Stokes, who'll sing the role of Figaro, said it's not all laughs.
"It's light and dramatic," Stokes said. "It definitely has its tender moments. ... The proper term, I would think, is 'dramatic comedy.'"
Anthony "keeps it very light" by having the cast, particularly Stokes and Matt Oglesby as Basilio, moving constantly. And Anthony is emphasizing to his cast to listen not just to the words they're singing, but also to the musical notes Mozart wrote between the soaring lyrics.
"My job is to take (the cast) and put them on an arc from begining to end," Anthony said. "(Mozart) gives us dramatic intentions with the colors of the music. ... He sets up where we're going."