A perfect-fit Figaro in UofT Opera's NozzeReview
Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro is an all-time, fan-favourite classic. The libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte is exceedingly witty, fun, and well executed by the opera division at the University of Toronto. Conductor Sandra Horst expertly and flawlessly creates a beautiful sound complimenting the synchronicity of the orchestra and the singers. The overture particularly highlights the incredible passage work stellarly played by the strings who are all perfectly in sync with one another.
When we have a beautiful overture, it must be accompanied by an exquisite set, no? Production designer Fred Perruzza does not disappoint. It is such a sight to behold as the curtain rises to these bright blue walls and warm yellow tones. This warmness is also accompanied by the brilliant lighting design that constantly keeps us well lit. It truly sets the tone for the opening number, a fun and comedic interaction between Figaro (Korin Thomas-Smith), and Susanna (Maeve Palmer).
Incredible music, a beautiful set, and even stunning costumes too. Lisa Magill perfectly rounds out the production with her classic designs. She successfully fits the designs to the 18th century, and manages to have everyone looking their absolute best. She cleverly costumes the protagonists - Figaro and Susanna - in bright, warm colours, while the antagonists - the Count, for one - are wearing dark, black, and muted tones.
Thomas-Smith could not be a better Figaro. He skillfully plays his character with charm, wit, and energy that is constantly bouncing off of his Susanna. His warm rich tones fill the theatre, and also complements the warmth and sweet, delicate features of Palmer’s voice. Together they successfully execute the comedically playful couple, while excelling as individual singers as well.
The staging direction by Michael Albano further enhances the production, as well as the overall performance of the singers. Every character has their own specific nuance that they continue to stick with throughout the entire show. There is excellent characterization from Elias Theocharidis as Basillio, and Danlie Acebuque as Antonio. Both have slight gestures such as conducting, a turn of the lip, or a sip of a drink that occurs throughout, which enhances the realness of the opera even more.
Saige Carlson’s characterization of the Countess effectively portrays the mischievous scheming between herself and Susanna. The two performers bounce off of each other so well, actually feeding off of one another’s energy. The sweet delicate tones of Palmer float above the full roundness of Carlson’s lyric voice. I commend Carlson for her regal portrayal of the Countess, and believe that she executes this role well.
Overall, I believe this production is a success. Every aspect of this opera is clearly well thought out and executed from the costumes, the set, and the brilliant performance from the musicians. All of these elements beautifully complement each other, and I cannot wait for their next show. Bravi tutti!