The Yale community seems never to grow tired of Mozart’s most famous love story.
Opening this Friday, the Yale Opera will perform “The Marriage of Figaro” at the Shubert Theater. Directed by Ted Huffman, with Dominique Trottein directing the accompanying music by Yale Philharmonia, the show is the first Yale Opera production of 2015. The upcoming production is the third time the Mozart opera has been performed at Yale within the past year.
Max Norman ’17, who participated in the Opera Theatre of Yale College’s production of the piece last April, said he is not surprised that “The Marriage of Figaro” is being produced again at Yale, given that it is a popular classic among contemporary audiences.
“First and foremost, it’s fantastic music, endlessly rich and dramatic,” Norman said. “The libretto itself also explores some interesting social and political themes, ranging from class dynamics to gender politics.”
Directed by Beau Gabriel ’14, the OTYC production of “The Marriage of Figaro” received critical acclaim, winning the second national prize for opera productions in the university division for The American Prize in 2014, which recognizes and rewards groups that excel in the performing arts in the United States at both the community and professional levels.
Norman explained that the piece was nontraditional for a student company production because of its period-style performance, both in the instruments used and in the singing technique. Emma Clarkson ’17, who also played in the OTYC production’s orchestra, noted that the string players in the show played on gut strings and used baroque bows for the performance.
“[Winning The American Prize] was a big honor for the cast and the company,” Norman said. “We set a pretty high bar for ourselves, and we’re working hard to reach and even exceed it with this season’s production of ‘Hänsel und Gretel.’”
Norman added that “The Marriage of Figaro” is a standard installation of a student opera company’s repertoire, noting that he thinks the work is a piece that every opera singer needs to be able to sing.
The Yale Opera also started its 2014-15 season last November with a performance of various selections from “The Marriage of Figaro.” The Fall Show featured all of the senior members of Yale Opera, according to Yale Opera Manager Erika Neimi. Evanna Chiew MUS ’15, a vocalist in the fall performance of “The Marriage of Figaro,” noted that every member of the production had more than one role to play in the show.
According to Norman, New Haven is surprisingly rich in opera productions for its size. In addition to the Yale Opera, the Yale Baroque Opera Project puts on a few annual productions, while the Iseman Met Opera Broadcast program offers an opportunity for Yale students to view livestreams of operas on Saturdays.
Performances of “The Marriage of Figaro” will run through Sunday.