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Classical 101

The Marriage of Figaro and Opera Columbus

Opera Columbus
The Count pontificates on the nature of love and marriage in 'The Marriage of Figaro,' recorded by Opera Columbus and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.

Opera and More, the weekly opera program on Classical 101, presents Mozart's The Marriage of Figarosung in English, Saturday September 5th at 1:00 PM. Jason Hiester conducts members of the Columbus Symphony and Columbus's own Adam Cioffari came home from an international career to sing the title role. Other local favorites in the cast: Leo Welsh, Sam Hall, and Susan Millard Schwartz.

I'm like a proud Papa watching the re-invention of Opera Columbus over the past few years, even though I have not a thing to do with it. CAPA and Artistic Director Peggy Kriha Dye has brought the lyric theater into the 21st century with up to date productions of the bread and butter scores and a few surprises. I haven't liked everything and I don't need to like everything. What I love is the consistent energy, vision and striving for excellence seen onstage at the Southern Theater. Steve Guyer and Shadowbox have given Opera Columbus a second home for the Opera on the Edge series. I've had Musetta sit on my lap with a glass of tea in my hand. She took a sip, and I'll say no more.

I'm delighted to report that Opera Columbus returns to Classical 101 with their recent production of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. This, like Cosi fan tutte, Aida and Carmen  is an opera where everything works. Beaumarchais's play on which the opera is based is subtitled Une folle journee or One Crazy Day.

You hear the craziness immediately in Mozart's rollicking-- or menacing-- overture. You meet Figaro; musically all bluster and sly wit. The Count is a bully who redeems himself in C major in the final fifty bars of the opera. The Countess may be sad, but Mozart reminds her she was once Rosina, a minx of a girl and the smartest person in the room. That crown now goes to Susanna, a young woman who can be maternal, fiery and wise. Added to this the comedy and a touch of cynicism and you have a  crazy day that flies by, mostly in major keys.

Opera Columbus has made a point of employing excellent local singers and the Columbus Symphony is in the pit for this recording. I'm delighted to make Opera Columbus's productions available on Classical 101.

With you, I look forward to Lully's Armide in the Southern Theater, September 17, 18 and 20, a collaboration with Ballet Met and Apollo's Fire. A sorceress turns frogs into princes and back again, with the sexy music and dance written for Louis XIV.

Want to be King for Day? Don't miss Armide.

Want to fall in love on a steamy Saturday afternoon? Listen to The Marriage of  Figaro from Opera Columbus, Saturday afternoon at 1:00 PM on Classical 101.

Christopher Purdy is Classical 101's early morning host, 7-10 a.m. weekdays. He is host and producer of Front Row Center – Classical 101’s weekly celebration of Opera and more – as well as Music in Mid-Ohio, Concerts at Ohio State, and the Columbus Symphony broadcast series. He is the regular pre-concert speaker for Columbus Symphony performances in the Ohio Theater.