Rich Pickings on Opera North’s The Marriage of Figaro

The Marriage of Figaro 02

Mozart’s classic comedy is a hysterical farce with Count Almaviva (Quirijn de Lang) attempting to get his wicked way with maid Susanna (Fflur Wyn) on her wedding night according to a local tradition. Her husband-to-be Figaro (Phillip Rhodes) is rightly incensed but has a cunning plan to foil his designs.

This involves quite a complex plot which has page Cherubino (Heather Lowe) cross-dressing and the Countess (Máire Flavin) impersonating Susanna but things don’t quite go as planned. This is partly due to the the fact that Figaro is indebted to housekeeper Marcellina (Gaynor Keeble) and has agreed to marry her if the debt is not honoured. Even more incredibly she turns out to be his mother!

Director Jo Davies really plays this for laughs and successfully has us chuckling throughout the totally ridiculous scenes. And although this is a four-act three-hour show it fairly flies by. Leslie Travers’ set is both functional with its multiple doors and to be adored with its floral wallpaper. It is moved from act to act so it can be the wedding couple’s bedroom, the Countess’ boudoir or the Count’s study at will.

While Gabrielle Dalton’s costumes are to die for and add greatly to the appeal of the piece. Orchestra of Opera North are on fine form as ever under the baton of Antony Hermus. And Chorus of Opera North add brilliantly to the interpretation of the score especially on the double wedding scene. The ensemble are simply fantastic with Flavin particularly outstanding making every note count with her sweet vocals.

So Opera North continue their season (following Street Scene) with great skill and aplomb.

Reviewed by Rich Jevons on 1 February 2020 at Leeds Grand Theatre. Tours till 21 March. See Opera North website for dates, times and venues.

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About richjevons23

Rich Jevons is a freelance journalist based in Leeds. Just a quick intro: thirty years' journalistic experience (I was published in the Yorkshire Post at the tender age of fifteen!); a decade as Arts Editor at Leeds Guide; freelancer including work for Big Issue in the North, Metro Newspaper, Artscene, Northern Exposure, AN, AJ, BJP, Hotshoe International, National Drama, Plays International... And edited www.digyorkshire.com until its demise at the end of 2013. Now writing predominantly for www.thestage.co.uk, www.northernsoul.me.uk, www.thepublicreviews.com, www.culturevulture.co.uk and www.thestateofthearts.co.uk.

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