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UNC's take on a comic opera

By Andrew Stiegler
On April 17, 2017

As the curtains rolled up Friday night at the Union Colony Civic Center, UNC’s Opera Theatre carried out a particularly pleasing score of Le Nozze Di Figaro. The masque, directed by Brian Clay Leudloff, was a four-part opera buffa, or comic opera.

Composed in 1786 by the famous Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the play has an Italian libretto, written by Lorenzo Da Ponte. Ponte’s libretto derives from a stage comedy by Pierre Beaumarchais, “La folle journee, ou le Mariage de Figaro,” otherwise known as “The Mad Day, Or the Marriage of Figaro,” so one could suspect there to be a few laughs at UNC’s premiere. The story recounts how Figaro and Susanna successfully attempt to spoil the plans of their employer, Count Almaviva, by getting married and teaching him a lesson in faithfulness.   

Everyone was in their right place and successfully perfecting their craft throughout the show. There weren’t any noticeable flaws to gossip about in this splendidly, multi-layered performance, and it was apparent in the dazzling four-part act.

The theatrical chemistry of UNC’s performers was apparent throughout every act. Figaro, played by Trevor Halder, delivered one of the best performances of the night, with a dark, solid voice that echoed with ease throughout the auditorium. Sarah Kochevar, who played Susanna, exhibited a sense of passion during her entire performance, with her sparkling and beautiful voice, every exchange was near perfection. On a comedic note, Chen Ye’s character, Cherubino, delivered the most diverse roles on stage. In the second act, Susanna and the Countess attempt to expose the Count by dressing Cherubino up as a girl. Hooked by the experience, Cherubino performs an outstanding performance that’s authentic in every way.

Conductor Russell Guyver led an illustrious routine, matched with the University Symphony Orchestra’s unblemished and powerful performance; this helped to capture the sophistication of the allegory itself.

Brian Hapcic’s lighting design also supplemented the unraveling story, and captured the tone of each scene. The quality and texture of the lighting was what helped draw out the sublime hops and strong vibrations executed by the cast. Similarly, Jean-Francois Revon nailed the scenic design with flashy, well-constructed costumes that allowed the actors to truly believe in their characters. The glossy gowns and keen suits playfully deepened the spirit of the audience, with a mood that felt as if everyone watching were witnessing it in 1786.  

UNC’s audacious performance put forth by cast, crew and symphony made this masque a uniquely, compelling take on Mozart’s famous masterpiece.  

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