Tuesday, 20 December 2011

The Marriage of Figaro x 2

Susanna and Figaro a la 1945

Two of my past students have tackled producing The Marriage of Figaro, my daughter is one, and the young woman in Durham who, like S, is proving such a wonderful voice teacher. These two young women, along with another who danced as well as sung are taking the mantle of truly dedicated and highly talented voice technicians, as well as sensitive and empathetic in their teaching philosophy.

The two Figaro productions were wonderful, and I like to think that the root inspiration came from their own youthful performances as the Countess and Cherubino, when I produced the said opera some 23 years ago ! They loved the music, the story and the whole business of stagecraft, and how pleasing it is to see the full circle they have navigated in returning to the timeless, and ageless Mozart opera that is The Marriage of Figaro.

I am moved to write this as I just watched the DVD of one the productions, which was in July this year. The company had something of a drama, (What self respecting staged show would be without a drama!)and funds which had been raised for the show had to be directed towards paying the fee and travel expenses of a late entry Count ! Their home grown Count badly let them down and dropped out 3 weeks before the opening night, Bad Boy indeed. So it was the costume budget which suddenly slid into sub prime mode!

M had a brainwave borne of the dilemma and decided to set the whole thing in the 1940's, so costumes came from friends, elderly relatives and charity shops. Actually it worked beautifully in their favour. Young folk, largely under 21, and with bright young voices, made the nippy wartime idea prove lively and funny, without the heaviness of the 18th century paraphernalia. One obviously loses some of the stature of the piece, but, again the youthful enthusiasm and delicious buffoonery worked like a charm.

The other version which S produced and indeed brought up to Paradise, was set in period, and proved just as exciting, just as wonderfully full of pep and passion.

I feel it may be time for me to sink into unstressed oblivion, let them get on with it, and become a kindly observer, occasional advice giver, and deliverer of adulation and flattery at their 2nd generation brilliance!

What do you reckon?


  1. Sounds like a good plan to me :)

    Thats the whole point of teaching isn't it? To have some people ready to take over when you are ready to step back.

    viv in nz

  2. It sure is ! I am very lucky that a few wanted to teach and not perform!