The Marriage of Figaro
Rom Com 17th Century-Style
Figaro's (Paolo Bordogna) outrageously imaginative solutions to his and fiancée Susanna’s (Stacey Alleaume) romantic dilemmas form the core narrative of ‘The Marriage of Figaro’. This operatic romp about sex and politics makes you realise that love in all its complexities has been central to almost all genres throughout time and space… and if you add a bloke in a frock ‒ Medieval and Shakespearean theatre, Ancient Greek theatre or the Footy Show, not to mention Japanese Kabuki and most South East Asian theatre traditions ‒ then you have yourself an audience winner. Only kidding :)
But the politics of putting or not putting women on stage ‒ frocked or unfrocked ‒ as well as their narrative functions are interesting notes regarding changing social and aesthetic mores.
The Count, Figaro’s employer (Andrei Bondarenko) is intent on reviving an old law so that he can sleep with the sassy Susanna even though she is soon to be Figaro’s wife and she doesn’t want to sleep with him, continually telling him so. Figaro himself has a little sexual politics in play as he has borrowed money from an older woman (Dominica Matthews), having taken advantage of her affections and that women is now intent on marrying Figaro if he can’t honour this debt.
The Countess, Susanna’s employer (Ekaterina Sadovnikova) is heartbroken because her Count is an incorrigible philanderer while paradoxically, also being a suspicious and jealous husband.
All this complexity needs attention and it is the morning of Figaro’s wedding. What is a 17th century boy to do?
'The marriage of Figaro' is a continually delightful romp and it is always a joy to view an opera with a truly happy ending.
The sets and costume design in ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ by Jenny Tiramani are sumptuous; almost like watching an Old Master’s painting come to life, with the patinas of velvet, marble, satins and lace a delight to behold. My favourite set however was a tad less traditional; a strangely ahistorical garden scene, all sandstone and shadows and the perfect location for mistaken identities and love-befuddled characters to somehow pull together into a joyous finale.
The entire tale takes place over a day and lighting designer David Fin gives the sets a luminosity that subtly marks the passing of time.
There is a lot to love in this Opera Australia production of a very old favourite.
Director: Sir David McVicar
Set and Costume Design: Jenny Tiramani
Lighting Designer: David Finn