Opera Colorado Closes Season With Mozart's THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO

By: Apr. 15, 2019
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Opera Colorado Closes Season With Mozart's THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO

Opera Colorado closes its triumphant 2018-19 season with a lavish production of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, an opera frequently lauded as the pinnacle of the art form. The Marriage of Figaro opens Saturday, May 4, at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in downtown Denver, with additional performances on May 7, 10, and 12.

Mozart's brilliantly paced comedy finds its wily title character on the day of his wedding to his beloved Susanna. But their household is overseen by the wandering eye of Count Almaviva, who is intent on seducing the bride-to-be-stoking not only the couple's ire, but also the frustrations of the long-suffering Countess.

What unfolds is hilarious chaos, led by both stage director Matthew Ozawa (making his return after directing Opera Colorado's acclaimed production of La Bohème in the 2017-18 season) and Opera Colorado Music Director Ari Pelto, who conducts these performances.

"For me, The Marriage of Figaro is the best opera there is," says Pelto. "It makes you love humanity, because all these characters are flawed but they're all beautiful at the same time. Even the Count, whom I've never considered to be a bad person, but rather just a person who behaves badly. Mozart had an incredible understanding of the human soul, and he expresses that so perfectly throughout the entirety of Figaro."

A true ensemble piece, this production of The Marriage of Figaro sees the return of several familiar voices, including bass-baritone Ryan Kuster in the title role of Figaro. In 2012, The Boulder Daily Camera praised Kuster in Opera Colorado's production of Carmen, saying "[his] character has the most famous of all the opera's many great tunes, and Kuster's delivery does not disappoint." Opposite Kuster is soprano Maureen McKay, as Susanna. Of her recent turn at Lyric Opera of Kansas City, The Kansas City Star wrote, "Maureen McKay, as Susanna, the quick-witted, fiery bride, challenged their schemes and bravado and jealousies. Her 'Deh vieni, non tardar' was exquisite."

Opera Colorado's production also features world-renowned bass-baritone Simone Alberghini, who in Opera Colorado's 2012 production sang Figaro, but now takes on the role of Count Almaviva. Opposite Alberghini as Countess Almaviva is soprano Ellie Dehn, who previously performed Donna Anna in Opera Colorado's 2013 Don Giovanni, and has been praised as "a revelation" (Chicago Sun-Times). Mezzo-soprano Adriana Zabala, heard last season in Opera Colorado's world premiere of Steal a Pencil for Me, sings the mischievous Cherubino, with mezzo-soprano Margaret Gawrysiak as Marcellina and bass-baritone Stefano de Peppo in his Opera Colorado debut as Dr. Bartolo.

Rounding out the cast are members of Opera Colorado's 2018-19 Artist in Residence Program, including tenor Aaren Rivard (as both Don Basilio and Don Curzio), baritone Eric McConnell (Antonio) and soprano Rebekah Howell (Barbarina).

"This is always billed as Mozart's greatest opera, and it truly is," says General & Artistic Director Greg Carpenter. "Not only did Mozart and his librettist, Da Ponte, perfectly pace the drama, but Mozart's music is so brilliantly and stylistically specific to each character. This is one of those operas that we love because it's a great story told through completely immersive and engaging music. This is Mozart storytelling at its best."

Opera Colorado's 2018-19 season has seen a string of sold-out events, and limited tickets remain across all performances of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro.

The production opens Saturday, May 4, and runs through Sunday, May 12. For tickets and information, visit operacolorado.org or call the Opera Colorado Box Office at 303.468.2030.