October 11, 2017
By Erich Burnett
Opera scene of Marriage of Figaro

Mozart’s sophisticated comedy regarded among the best operas ever written.

Jonathon Field calls The Marriage of Figaro “the world’s most perfect opera,” which explains why he has directed Mozart’s comedic classic more times than he can count.

Oberlin Opera Theater will present The Marriage of Figaro—or Le Nozze di Figaro in its original Italian—in four performances beginning Wednesday, November 1, at Hall Auditorium, 67 N. Main St.

Field loves the opera in part for its music—which Johannes Brahms once characterized as “a miracle”—and in part for the profound challenge it represents for Field’s young cast.

“The amount of Italian they have to stuff into their brains is amazing,” he says. “It’s a great training exercise for them, and audiences love the beautiful music. Even if they don’t know that they know it, they realize they’ve heard it in baby food commercials and all kinds of other places.”

The opera will be performed by the Oberlin Orchestra, under the direction of Raphael Jiménez.

With a libretto by Mozart’s colorful contemporary Lorenzo Da Ponte, the opera revolves around the wedding day of young servants Figaro and Susanna—and the attempts of their master, Count Almaviva, to bed Susanna in accordance with an arcane law he had previously abolished. As the Count works the angles to his advantage, the young lovers join forces with the Count’s wife Rosina and scheme to foil his plans and restore his love for her.

With this particular production of Figaro, Field found himself gravitating toward an interpretation that is by-the-book—something of a stretch for a director who has been celebrated for applying unique twists to classic stage works.

“I try to get more real each time,” he says, noting how his actors are encouraged to grow into their characters through the music. “If the director could be completely invisible, that’s what I’m looking for this time.”

Sung in Italian with English supertitles, The Marriage of Figaro will be presented in Hall Auditorium at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, November 1, 3, and 4; and at 2 p.m. Sunday, November 5.

Tickets are $10 ($8 for students), available by calling 800-371-0178, visiting oberlin.edu/artsguide, or by stopping by Oberlin’s Central Ticket Service (in the Hall Auditorium lobby) weekdays from noon-5 p.m. Subscription packages, which include discounted tickets for Figaro and Oberlin’s spring opera, Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, are also available.

For more information on the arts at Oberlin, please visit oberlin.edu/artsguide.

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