Peabody Opera Theatre presents

Le nozze di Figaro

by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte, after Beaumarchais

Peabody Symphony Orchestra

Kate Tamarkin, guest conductor

Roger Brunyate, stage director and designer

JoAnn Kulesza, musical preparation

Thursday–Saturday, November 16, 17, 18, 2006 at 7:30 PM
Sunday, November 19, 2006 at 3:00 PM
Miriam A. Friedberg Concert Hall
Peabody Conservatory of Music
1 East Mt. Vernon Place
Baltimore, Maryland
Admission $24 / Seniors $12 / Students with ID $10
Box Office: 410/659-8100 x4415, or book online

Funded in part by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council

Photographs   Current season calendar   Peabody Opera home

Mozart and the Pastoral: Director Roger Brunyate presents an illustrated article, inspired by the writings of Wye Allanbrook, discussing how Le nozze di Figaro uses the 18th-century notion of the pastoral as a form of escapism and wish-fulfilment.

The Marriage of Figaro is the perfect opera to see and hear at a conservatory. All the major characters are young, within a few years of the ages of the students performing them. The emotional qualities which drive the plot — love, desire, respect, pride, and the search for identity — are very much part of young people’s lives today. And the musical demands of the opera, which requires musicality and sensitive ensemble singing rather than sheer vocal scale, exactly showcase what a school such as Peabody aspires to teach.

Act IV of FIGARO; sketch design by Roger Brunyate
Act IV of Figaro: the Count’s garden
Design sketch by Roger Brunyate

Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais wrote Le mariage de Figaro in around 1778, as a sequel to Le barbier de Séville. Because of its satirical nature it could not be performed until 1784, when permission was finally obtained from the king. It instantly became a hot property. Although the play itself was banned on the Viennese stage, Mozart and da Ponte were able to present their operatic adaptation in 1786, going on to achieve an even greater triumph in Prague a few months later. The court authorities may have been correct in their caution; any play which shows its most highly-placed character misusing his position and flouting the law to further his personal lusts is fuel for those who resent tyranny, and indeed the French Revolution followed only a few years later. Beaumarchais probably got away with it by writing in an obviously satirical vein and staying close to the traditions of popular theatre. Working in a less verbal medium, Mozart and da Ponte underplayed the social and political elements, concentrating instead on the emotions aroused by the situation: love, loyalty, despair, courage, jealousy, and above all forgiveness. It is these qualities that make the work timeless in its portrayal of the human heart.

Act III of FIGARO in production
Act III of Figaro: the Count’s reception room
Production photograph by Kathleen A. Sweadner

Perhaps because it is so specific in its setting yet so timeless in its subject, Le nozze di Figaro does not easily lend itself to updating nor benefit from it. The Peabody production by Roger Brunyate will be a traditional one, in a simple flexible set of his own design. The production will be conducted by Kate Tamarkin, a Peabody alumna who returns to us after positions with the Dallas Symphony and other orchestras across the country, and immediately following an acclaimed Magic Flute with the Washington Summer Opera.


* Cast performing Thursday 16 and Saturday 18 November
** Cast performing Friday 17 and Sunday 19 November
Pausing the cursor over singers’ names will show some previous roles

Susanna * Elisabeth Halliday
** Lindsay Thompson
Countess Almaviva     * Shelley Jackson
** Ji Eun Park
Barbarina * Jillian Marie Goldin
** Lena Leson
Cherubino * Brooke Lieberman Collins
** Madelyn Wanner
Marcellina ** Jenni Lynn Bank
* Elizabeth Dow
Don Basilio * Brent Huse
** Peter Wen Chih Lee
Don Curzio * Adam Caughey
** Eung Jun Lee
Count Almaviva * Brendan Curran
** Dan Kempson
Antonio * Jason Buckwalter
** Gabriel Henriques
Figaro ** Karl Hempel
* Christopher Magiera
Dr. Bartolo ** Steven Goodman
* Hirotaka Kato