As far as opera director Ian Rutherford is concerned, Marriage of Figaro It has “probably the greatest second act of opera and musical theater ever created, and the greatest libretto ever written.”
And he’s bringing that belief to life on stage when the Houston Grand Opera brings back a revival of the Comic Opera, with music by Mozart and a script by Lorenzo da Ponte.
As Rutherford is quick to point out, the opera has been updated to late ’60s Spain, but “mythical Spain.” Having traveled to the country during that period, he says long hair was never allowed on men when Franco was in charge.
“The main reason we put it in this era is to find a time when the master-servant relationship was still strong,” says Rutherford. “Added Frisson law of the lord This gives the count the right to sleep with Susannah on their wedding night. I can.
In the opera, the servant Figaro (Nahuel di Piero, bass) and Susanna (Elena Villalon, soprano) want to marry, and Count Almaviva (Adam Plachetka, baritone, bass) has sex with Susanna. Somehow manages to avoid plans to claim lordship rights.on her wedding night The Barber of Serville, but he changed from a romantic young man to a skirt-chasing amorous man. Meanwhile, her Countess (soprano singer Nicole Heathon) was aware of her husband’s infidelity, and she was utterly displeased. She and Susanna conspire to try to thwart his plans.
Farce is a major factor in all of this, and in time-honored fashion, doors open and close seconds before someone is detected. There are plenty of hiding places, as are impersonations, long-standing grievances, and undiscovered relationships. Meanwhile, Count Figaro keeps postponing Figaro’s wedding because he wants Susanna to be his own.
Rutherford says that Susannah’s approach to character has taken a slight turn in light of the changing conventions. “Women’s voices around the world are being heard more clearly than ever before, so as a director I need and want to show women who are strong, intelligent and powerful,” Rutherford said. say. “By updating it, we can give the situation even more context and see how great she is in Susannah.”
HGO’s Artistic and Musical Director, Patrick Summers, conducts four acts of approximately three and a half hours, with intermissions. To do this, the opera, a revival version of this last seen in Houston in 2016, needs a singer who can do more than just sing, and that singer, Rutherford said. says. He said, “I’ve been blessed with singers who are not only talented as singers, but also talented as actors.”
When asked about critics who are reluctant to update an opera written long ago, Rutherford replies: The intelligence of an audience who has seen a great movie, a great play, or a great musical.
And when asked why this particular opera remains a mainstay in opera houses around the world, Rutherford said there are many reasons, but the main ones are: The feeling of incredibly subtle emotions sliding down from one to the next. Few composers have been able to do that with a feature like this.
His job as a director, he says, is to “create humanity and create a vividness that makes you forget this was written in the 1780s.”
Performances are scheduled for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, January 13-28, at 7:00 PM. Sunday, January 15 at 2:30 PM and Sunday, January 22 at 2:00 PM at the Wertham Center at 501, Texas. For more information, call 713-546-0200 or visit houstongrandopera.org. $20 to $210.