No need to go Uptown this weekend if you’re in the mood for a night of cross-dressing and infidelity; instead, catch a performance of “The Marriage of Figaro” from the Miami University Opera Theatre.
Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with a libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte, the show is one of the most well-known operas of all time. According to Operabase, an online database that compiles statistics on opera performances and companies, “The Marriage of Figaro” was the tenth most popular opera during the 2018-2019 season with 424 performances.
The show takes place over the course of one day and centers on Figaro and Susanna, his bride-to-be. Figaro serves as valet to Count Almaviva, who hopes to seduce Susanna before her wedding night. Hijinks ensue as Figaro, Susanna, the Count’s wife and a teenage page named Cherubino team up to teach the Count a lesson in marital faithfulness.
The opera garnered some controversy after its premiere in 1786 because of its political undertones that pit commoners against the nobility. The production was a hit among early audiences, however, and one contemporary journalist described the show as containing “so many beauties and such a richness of thought as can proceed only from the born genius.”
Michaela Woodbrey, a graduate assistant in Miami’s opera class this semester, said the show can be good for those unfamiliar with opera as a medium, “because it’s serious in its music but it’s still a comedy.”
With four acts to be performed in two-and-a-half hours, the show requires a tremendous amount of stamina from its cast.
“We have to act as though all of these reveals are completely new to us every night,” Woodbrey said, referring to the many moments during the show in which characters’ schemes are foiled.
Woodbrey, who also plays the Countess, said she is looking forward to opening night.
“The whole cast has brought so much energy to the show. The set is beautiful and we have an award-winning lighting director so I’m excited to see it all come together,” Woodbrey said.
The show will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 20, 21 and 22 in the Gates-Abegglen Theatre.