The second of the two fully-staged opera productions by the Merola Opera Program will be given at the beginning of next month. Like the first of these productions, Benjamin Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, it is based on a French play, in this case La folle journée, ou le Mariage de Figaro (the day of madness, or the marriage of Figaro), by Pierre Beaumarchais. The opera is, of course, the K. 492 of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the first of his collaborations with Lorenzo Da Ponte as librettist. Mozart and Da Ponte decided to reverse the ordering in Beaumarchais’ title, so the opera is best known in English as The Marriage of Figaro. It is worth noting, however, that, true to Beaumarchais’ title, the entire opera takes place in the course of a single day, just as The Rape of Lucretia takes place over the course of a single night.
The production will be staged by Robin Guarino, a protégé of Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, a Mozart specialist whose work was well known at both the San Francisco Opera and the Metropolitan Opera. According to his Wikipedia page, video recordings are available of his stagings of six Mozart operas, ranging from the early (K. 87) Mitridate, re di Ponto (Mithridates, King of Pontus) to Mozart’s final opera, the K. 621 La clemenza di Tito (the clemency of Titus). Guarino’s conductor will be Xian Zhang, currently Music Director of the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi.
The four-act opera will be sung in Italian with English subtitles. Casting will be (in order of appearance) as follows:
- Figaro: John Arnold
- Susanna: Maria Valdes
- Dr. Bartolo: Thomas Richards
- Marcellina: Daryl Freedman
- Cherubino: Rihab Chaieb
- Count Almaviva: Joseph Lattanzi
- Don Basilio: Casey Finnigan
- Countess Almaviva: Jacqueline Piccolino
- Antonio: Rhys Lloyd Talbot
- Don Curzio: Matthew Newlin
- Barbarina: Alisa Jordheim
There will be two performances in the Everett Middle School Auditorium, located at 450 Church Street. They will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 1, and 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 3. Ticket prices are $25, $40, and $60, with a $15 rate for students. Ticket sales are handled by the San Francisco Opera Box Office, which may be visited in the lobby of the War Memorial Opera House at 301 Van Ness Avenue. They may also be ordered by calling 415-864-3330. Finally, they may be purchased online at the Single Tickets Web page on the San Francisco Opera Web site, where all Merola events are listed under “Other Productions.”