Africa’s premiere opera company, Cape Town Opera (CTO), will present ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ in the Opera House at Artscape from next week onwards. Opening on October 18 and running until October 26, the CTO cast will be accompanied by the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Jeremy Silver, with direction by Christine Crouse, costumes and décor by Michael Mitchell, lighting by Kobus Rossouw with Jacki Job as movement director.
‘The Marriage of Figaro’ is filled with Mozart’s celebrated music and is widely regarded to be one of the greatest comic operas ever written. There’s mischief and mayhem aplenty on stage when Figaro tries to outwit Count Almaviva, after the latter decides to claim his primitive right to have his way with Susanna on her wedding night. The story takes place in 19th century Spain where Figaro and Susanna are preparing for their fast-approaching wedding. On their wedding day, Figaro is shocked to hear Susanna’ confession about the Count’s desires for her. Fearing that the Count will reinstate a law that would allow him to bed a servant girl on her wedding night before her husband (“droit du seigneur”), Figaro vows to outwit the Count.
Figaro is sung by bass-baritone singer, George Stevens; Figaro’s fiancé, Susanna is sung by soprano, Siphamandla Yakupa and in the roles of the nobility – Count Almaviva and the Countess Almaviva are sung by Mandisinde Mbuyazwe and Golda Schultz, respectively.
This production marks the return of Schultz to CTO. The singer has become a sensation overseas, dazzling audiences in Munich especially. “The story is a wonderful comedy of Humanity. It’s all about what we do to get the things we want; how life – specifically other people – gets in the way and also at the end a sweet love story,” Schultz told the Next 48hOURS recently.
“Audiences can expect to love the characters. You will see something of yourself on the stage. You will cheer for Figaro and his Susanna and you will fall in love with Cherubino (sung by Lynelle Kenned). But most of all you will laugh, cry and walk out thinking, ‘that was a great story’,” she added.
Stevens has portrayed the role of Figaro countless times and describes him as a special character, not really stupid or naïve as he is made out to be by the Count. “His plan of how to trick and still be the favourite without a finger being pointed at him is remarkable. Figaro is playful, yet serious and loving, and at times threatening, and takes on a challenge towards the Count,” says Stevens.
The set designer, scenic artists, wardrobe staff, props co-ordinator and stage manager below reveal some of the numbers behind the staging of the opera:
• 33 people backstage to bring the action on stage
• 49 orchestra members
• 420 metres of fabric (Principal members and chorus ladies)
• 45kgs of chandeliers on set
• 36 hours of hair and make-up prep during the run
• 260kgs of sand on set
• 120l of glue
• 420l paint
• 3 people spent 192 hours to paint the set
• 22m canvas
• 47 rehearsal sessions
• 60 metres of trim
• 45 props
• 36 performers on stage
• 17 hats
* Tickets priced at R 150, R280 and R390 are on sale at Computicket.
For more information, visit www.capetownopera.co.za; or follow Cape Town Opera on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.