MARRIAGE OF FIGARO – Now At San Francisco Opera

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

San Francisco Opera’s opening night production of MARRIAGE OF FIGARO rates High on comic timing and Spot-On for its exceptionally compatible cast. The voices are evenly balanced, the performers are having a marvelous time with stage direction by John Copley, and under the brisk baton of conductor Nicola Luisotti the estimated three-and-a-half hour (with one intermission) comic opera just goes whizzing on by.

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LUCA PISARONI – as “Figaro”. Photo, Cory Weaver

Easy to say when it’s baritone Luca Pisaroni in the title role. Pisaroni is the ideal romantic lead. The voice is strong and agile and he has plenty of carnal appeal. “Figaro’s” bride-to-be “Susanna” is certainly all a-glow watching him measure out the space for their wedding bed. Danielle de Niese is totally beautiful as Susanna. She is the definitive Mozart soubrette. She and Pisaroni have wonderful chemistry between them. It sparks in the presence of their character’s boss and landlord – the “Count Almaviva” – sung by baritone Lucas Meacham. The Count is determined to bed the lovely Susanna sometime on the day of her wedding.

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DANIELLE de NIESE – as “Susanna” Photo, Cory Weaver

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ELLIE DEHN (Countess Almaviva) and LUCAS MEACHEM (Count Almaviva)
Photo, Cory Weaver

Too bad the Count relinquished his long-held and noble privilege of “Droit de seigneur” – the right to take her anyway. Imagine. Meacham brings just enough oily and brutish energy to the first half of the role to allow for a sufficient redemption in Act IV and (for now) a contented reunion with his Countess, beautifully sung by Ellie Dehn. In-between-time, the bewildered Countess has been ardently pursued by young “Cherubino” – a pants role – effectively rendered by mezzo-soprano Michèle Losier.

danielle-de-niese-susanna-lucas-meachem-count-almaviva-and-michele-losier-cherubinoDanielle de Niese (Susanna), Lucas Meachem (Count Almaviva)
and Michèle Losier (Cherubino). Photo, Cory Weaver

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Catherine Cook (Marcellina), John Del Carlo (Dr. Bartolo),
Lucas Meachem (Count Almaviva) and Greg Fedderly (Don Basilio).
Photo, Cory Weaver

Catherine Cook is the finest comic/character mezzo-soprano around. A former Adler Fellow and alumna of the Merola Opera Program, Cook repeats her role as the housekeeper, “Marcellina”, whom Figaro has promised to marry if he should default on his loan from her. The very hopeful (and past her prime) Marcellina is very determined to thwart Susanna and Figaro’s Wedding Day. Too bad she turns out to be Figaro’s mother. Her lawyer, “Doctor Bartolo” (John Del Carlo), turns out to be Figaro’s father. On Facebook, the relationships would read as: It’s complicated.

Even with lighting by Christopher Maravich, this production of The Marriage of Figaro is looking on the something borrowed and something blue side. But for the ardent fan – the performances by the bride and groom and all the wedding guests are solid enough to persuade another walk down the aisle.
Click here for casting information and to purchase tickets on-line: MARRIAGE OF FIGARO

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Photo, Cory Weaver

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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