The Marriage of Figaro first premiered in 1786. It is based on the plays of Beaumarchais. The Marriage of Figaro was a perfect vehicle for Mozart to examine the complexities of relationships, marriage, infidelity, infatuation and long-lasting commitment all entailed in a comic framework set up by Lorenzo Da Ponte.
The Florida opera was packed to capacity with an array of dignitaries, but one could not help notice the looks of first timers in the audience. The curtain open. Leading the cast are its two most experienced pros soprano (Betty Durk) and baritone (Jesee Van Dinther) as the countess and her unreliable count. Both seemed contained and self-posed. Betty’s voice is of unostentatious power and shimmering beauty. She sang the countess’ signature arias with great elegance, precision and hammed it up until the end of the opera. Jesse strong and powerful but controlled baritone fit the virile nature of the roguish count he played. His numerous frustration at being outsmarted at nearly turn with a mixture of laughter and loud seriousness. As much as it was cold the Schubert that started the night’s proceeding was elegant. The pianissimo of the strings with oboe and clarinet in the first movement was impressively beautiful. The violinist and the pianist played the piece with exuberance. The audience was engrossed to the stage with great interest as no one wanted to miss the rarely heard orchestra music. Unfortunately, the microphone set up for the pianist was not operation also another was used. The violinist paper at some point was blown off by a slight gust of wind. He seemed not distracted. The harps were also particularly good. I had not heard them for a while.
Jesse sang well, and warmed into the part as the opera proceeded, but the character the director created seemed too enraged at times. Personally, the challenge for the night’s performance was the somewhat lack of delivery of the idea intended by the composer in the best way possible. The performance would have been better had the characters fitted into their ‘Real’ characters. Nevertheless, the performance was memorable, but there was a lot of talking at times and many of the audience were sternly hushed. A woman next me was very excited as kept asking lots of questions. There was scolding before the performance as photographs were not allowed. The opera was a success as there were a lot of accolades from the audience.