Roodepoort Theatre Presents – Le Nozzi di Figaro
Proudly sponsored by the Judith Neilson Head Trust, Cape Town Opera, in collaboration with Sempre Opera and Roodepoort Theatre, presents Mozart’s famous masterpiece, Le Nozze di Figaro at the Roodepoort Theatre from 06 – 15 July 2022. The Production forms part of the first Judith Neilson Cape Town Opera Tour of 2022.
The production, a collaboration between Cape Town Opera (CTO) and the Gauteng-based Sempre Opera, is directed by CTO’s Magdalene Minnaar, with set and costume design by Maritha Visagie and Rabia Davids, movement direction by Fiona du Plooy and lighting design by Nicolaas de Jongh.
The Sempre Opera Instrumental Ensemble will be conducted by Schalk van der Merwe, whose fresh new presence on the podium befits an opera by a young composer. Unbelievably, Mozart was barely 30 when he wrote Le Nozze di Figaro!
Director Minnaar relishes her part in staging what she sums up as “a perfect opera in every way,” with good reason. This gem of the repertoire may be found in a symbiosis of farce, political comment, and psychological finesse as sublime music is married to a rich text. Sparkling but never superficial, darker issues still relevant today are discernible to alert audiences beneath its shimmering surface. This work is adapted from the second novel of a sprightly trilogy by the 18th-century author Pierre-Augustin Caron (Beaumarchais). His cheerful cynicism matched the spirit of his age, and it is apparent in Le Nozze di Figaro.
Here we have the sequel to Le Barbier de Séville (Rossini), where a younger, more sentimental Figaro promotes the obstacle-fraught romance and marriage of a lovelorn Count (Almaviva) and an equally smitten girl (Rosina). In Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, a decade later, the lustre has worn off their once radiant union; the Count has become an inveterate lecher, and his Countess is understandably depressed. Once more, Figaro comes to the rescue with the added incentive of jealousy. His comely fiancée Susanna has caught Almaviva’s wandering eye . . . and his betrothed ably abets him in frustrating the adulterer’s intentions. Between them, the Count’s social inferiors outwit Almaviva and contrive to reignite his love for the wronged Rosina. In the end, all’s well that ends well, in the best of comic opera tradition. A couple of entertaining sub-plots are added to this central plot to pique the audience’s interest up to the dénouement.
The stellar all-South African cast features Conroy Scott as Figaro, Brittany Smith as Susanna, William Berger, and Siphamandla Moyake as Count and Countess Almaviva, Megan Kahts in her trouser role début as Cherubino, Monica Mhangwana as Marcellina, Danie Verster as Bartolo, Chris Mostert as Basilio/Don Curzio, Alida Stoman as Barbarina, Rouel Beukes as Antonio and the Sempre Opera Adhoc Chorus under the direction of Chorus Master Colleen Maré.
Minnaar and Visagie approached the production with a view to this year’s CTO themes of Sustainability, Creativity, and Diversity, in light of which they created modular set units for reuse in future productions on stages of varying sizes. Costumes, wigs, props, and furniture form a great collection, judiciously upcycled from the existing CTO and Artscape stores. Inspired by the Rococo aesthetic, Minnaar opted for a period look-and-feel but took a few liberties here and there to give it a unique modern twist. All in keeping with Mozart’s sense of fun. “I wanted to create a world inspired by the romanticism of artful decay. It encapsulated the opera’s story and the world we currently live in,” says designer Maritha Visagie.
Tickets are available at www.roodepoorttheatre.com or call 011 674 1357. For more information visit www.sempreopera.co.za or www.capetownopera.co.za, follow Sempre Opera and Cape Town Opera’s social media pages or send an email to email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org