CCM students and staff are putting their own mark on Mozart’s timeless opera buffa The Marriage of Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro) whether it is from the original 18th-century-inspired costume designs, the simple and elegant scenic designs or the polished presentation of Mozart’s comedic ensemble scenes. The Marriage of Figaro runs from February 10-13 in CCM’s Patricia Corbett Theater on the University of Cincinnati campus.
While several of the students and staff involved with CCM’s production of The Marriage of Figaro have prior experience working on the beloved opera, they are striving to produce their own unique version of this comic tale of infidelity, duplicity, blackmail and mistaken identities. Jose Rubio, a first-year Artist’s Diploma Student from Portland, Oregon, is playing the role of Figaro for the third time in his career. As he looks back on his first performance, he sees the evolution of not only Figaro, but also himself. “The first two times I did Figaro were in 2006,” explains Rubio. “It’s been over four years since I did, and now I think my experience with both opera and life in general has really changed the way that I feel about the character.” Rubio, along with director Robin Guarino, is striving to make this production of The Marriage of Figaro more true-to-life. “Guarino’s goal is to strip away everything that we associate with a ‘stock opera.’ She wants to make them real people.” This goal is achieved by simplifying sets, costumes, make-up and wigs.
The story of The Marriage of Figaro revolves around a single day of madness in the palace of Count Almaviva. The Count is attracted to his wife’s maid, Susanna, who is engaged to his valet, Figaro. Although Susanna and Figaro’s wedding is scheduled to be this very day, the Count schemes to push off the wedding so that he can seduce Susanna. Meanwhile, the Countess mourns the loss of her husband’s affections. Cherubino, a young man in the household, strives to romance any woman with a youthful passion. But Susanna, Figaro and the Countess devise a comical ruse to allow the marriage and get the Count to stop philandering.
The clever tricks and near misses of the plot could define the amusing landmark opera, but Rubio argues otherwise. “I think it comes down to the relationships in the show. I love the fact that it’s on Valentine’s Day. It’s about relationships and love, and I feel like there are three different relationships and levels of love expressed. The first kind is like Cherubino, who’s trying to discover love. He loves every woman, he can’t get enough and he’s excited. Then there’s Figaro and Susanna, who believe that they’re in love and want to the take it to the next level, make that commitment and be with each other. Then there’s the Count and the Countess, who really thought they were in love, and now they’re discovering that it’s not that easy. That you have to be patient, and the biggest thing is forgiveness.” Rubio argues that this is what makes the story so enjoyable. “They’re situations we all can relate to.”
About CCM’s production
CCM’s production of The Marriage of Figaro includes a talented cast and experienced staff. Associate Professor of Opera Robin Guarino, who recently directed the Metropolitan Opera’s revival of Così fan tutte, directs the CCM production, and Annunziata Tomaro, who took the top prize in the 2010 International “Antonio Pedrotti” Competition for Orchestra Conductors, conducts the show.
Most of the costumes designed by student Amanda Rae Janke are being built by CCM costume design and technology students and staff and are inspired by 18th-century American and English fashions. Wig and make-up designs by student Hailei Moriah Call aim to showcase a more natural look among the characters that capture the real styles of the 1700s.
This production is the second Marriage of Figaro project for CCM Professor of Stage Design Thomas Umfrid, who collaborated with Guarino to produce a classic set design that will support and showcase the talented CCM cast.
The Marriage of Figaro Cast List:
Figaro – Jose Rubio* (First-year A.D. student from Portland, Oregon), Noel Bouley~ (Second-year A.D. student from Houston, Texas)
Susanna – Ji Hyun Jang* (Second-year doctoral student from Seoul, South Korea), Xi Wang~ (Second-year A.D. student from Zhengzhou, China)
Countess Almaviva – Jacqueline Echols* (Second-year graduate student from Detroit, Michigan), Meghan Tarkington~ (First-year graduate student from Chicago, Illinois)
Count Almaviva – Mark Diamond* (First-year graduate student from Augusta, Georgia), Luis Alejandro Orozco~ (Second-year graduate student from Juarez, Mexico)
Cherubino – Katherine Wakefield* (First-year graduate student from Ann Arbor, Michigan), Audrey Walstrom~ (Second-year doctoral student from Los Alamos, New Mexico)
Marcellina – Jill Phillips (First-year graduate student from Pocahontas, Iowa)
Bartolo – Thomas Richards (First-year graduate student from Burnsville, Minnesota)
Basilio – Ian José Ramirez (First-year graduate student from The Woodlands, Texas)
Barbarina – Sakinah A. Davis (Second-year graduate student from Atlanta, Georgia)
Don Curzio – Dashiell Waterbury (First-year graduate student from Redding, California)
Antonio – Timothy J. Bruno (Second-year graduate student from Toledo, Ohio)
* Thursday, Feb. 10, 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 12 at 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 13, 2:30 p.m.
~ Friday, Feb. 11, 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 12, 8 p.m.
- Thursday and Friday, Feb. 10-11, 8 p.m.
- Saturday, Feb. 12, 2:30 and 8 p.m.
- Sunday, Feb. 13, 2:30 p.m.
Patricia Corbett Theater
University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music
$27-$29 general admission, $17-$19 students
Ordering and Additional Information:
Box Office: 513-556-4183 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s