Tracker Pixel for Entry

​NDSU updates ‘The Marriage of Figaro’

by John Showalter | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Theatre | February 15th, 2017

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: the Viennese musical prodigy is a household name with a prolific catalogue of work. Even to those largely unfamiliar with classical music his name calls up musical genius, Einstein with music. During his relatively short life he penned dozens of symphonies and concertos and scored several operas, both comic and tragic.

The production of “The Marriage of Figaro,” performed by students of North Dakota State University, is a classic example of romantic comedy and one of the world’s most performed operas. NDSU professor of music and show conductor Virginia Sublett was kind enough to grant me an interview about the upcoming show on the evening of Friday, February 17th and the afternoon of Sunday, February 19th at the NDSU Festival Concert Hall.

“The Marriage of Figaro” is easily one of the most famous comedic operas. The libretto features many tropes of the romantic comedy, including slapstick and mistaken identities, but it ultimately also has heart. “It’s a story of forgiveness,” Sublett said, though the pathos is lightened with comedy. “It’s about the interpersonal relationships between a man and his wife and two of their servants and the rest of the household.

The story involves the Count and Countess of Seville. The Count is a philanderer, which causes much grief for his wife. His most recent scheme is to delay the marriage of one of his servants, Figaro, to another servant named Susanna in order to exercise his “right to the first night” (droit du seigneur) as Count so he can bed Susanna himself. Ultimately, the servants and Countess work together to trick and expose the Count’s womanizing ways.

Where this particular production differs somewhat from other productions of “Figaro” is that the action, while still set in a castle in Seville, Spain, is now taking place during the “summer of love” era in 1967 and 1968.

Also, instead of the libretto being performed in the original Italian, the cast will be singing an English translation. Some opera connoisseurs might consider performing an opera in any other language than that in which it was written as sacrilege, but Sublett stood by the decision and made a strong argument for having the production sung in English.

“It’s important in opera to understand the story immediately instead of reading a synopsis or supertitles. With comedy it’s important for the audience to get the jokes.” She stressed that she believed that the language could create a “veil” between the actors and the audience. She also pointed out how some opera houses in Germany will perform operas translated into German and still bring in the audiences and do justice to the material.

“There are good English translations out there that don’t do violence to the music.” About four or five years ago NDSU held an English-language production of another one of Mozart’s famous operas, “The Magic Flute,” which was originally in German. Ultimately, she argued that this helps your average audience develop more of an emotional investment. “It treats it as theatre instead of a museum piece.”

This production of “The Marriage of Figaro” is not only conducted by Sublett, but also brought in a guest stage director, Walker Lewis from the state of New York. The entire cast of the opera is performed by students in NDSU’s music program, ranging from freshmen though students pursuing their master’s degrees. The performing orchestra is about half-and-half, comprised of both current students at NDSU and professional string and wind players from the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra. “I hope people come out and see it. I think they will really enjoy it,” Sublett said.

If you are looking for some entertainment this coming weekend, it would be hard to go wrong with NDSU’s production of Mozart’s operatic classic. Whether you plan on bringing a date to this classic romantic comedy or going solo, you will be supporting current and future musicians as well as enjoying a comedy that touches on the mysterious and always resonant ways of the heart.

IF YOU GO

NDSU Opera: The Marriage of Figaro

Friday, February 17, 7:30pm; Sunday, February 19, 2pm

Festival Concert Hall, 1511 12th Ave N, Fargo



Recently in:

MANDAN – Hundreds of trials for activists who stood against the Dakota Access Pipeline have seen the judge’s gavel, but only two, so far, received jail time.Mary Redway, 64, a retired environmental biologist from Rhode Island,…

When asked what sparked her interest in tattoo culture, Danielle Colby, star of the hit reality TV show ‘American Pickers,’ replied, “I think that came from my grandfather. He was in the Navy, so he was heavily tattooed. I…

Thursday, October 26, 4pmCopper Ridge Event Center, 21 18th St S, FargoWhile working on his beloved pickup truck, Fred Lassonde sustained a traumatic brain injury, ending his 8-year career as a Fargo Police Officer. Benefit to…

Editorial

You too? Me too.

by Sabrina Hornung

Our opinion: We’ve all been there, been followed, stalked, or worse...On Sunday night, Alyssa Milano tweeted: "Suggested by a friend: If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote "Me too" as a status, we…

God didn’t save six million Jews from the Holocaust eitherWe have become so used to mass killings by firearms in the “United” States that they are generally ignored, except for the really unusual or big ones like Texas Tower,…

The moment of truth has arrived. After seven weeks of sampling and judging some of the finest libations in the area the results for this year’s Cocktail Showdown have arrived. Christopher Larson, Raul Gomez and Sabrina Hornung…

Friday night we were burning the midnight oil, carousing, drinking, and rambling about. The downtown dogfight has been stirring for a while, biting at my heels and barking in my brain. It was time for this idea to come to fruition.…

“Experiences like these are a reminder why I have chosen the right career path; it is my hope that the things I do on stage as a speaker or a singer are able to lift someone’s spirits, help them through a tough time, or serve…

In 1948, George Orwell predicted a dystopian future in his pinnacle work ‘1984.’ Orwell died before he could see if the future was plagued by unending war, a totalitarian government and rigorous loyalty rituals as he’d…

Arts

​Beau Thiege, Guitar Man

by Sabrina Hornung

The High Plains Reader ran into Beau, master craftsman, who works with what the Minot Daily news called “junk repurposed into musical masterpieces.”High Plains Reader: How did you get into luthiery?Beau Theige: I came across a…

Ted Larson introduced me to Chris Jacobs one evening at Weld Hall in the late 1980s. I was in high school then, but Chris recognized fellow film fanatics, and we would chat a little bit each week. I learned quickly that he loved…

Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

Dipping into your cellar to pull out a special bottle is something that used to be fairly exclusive, wine connoisseurs only. These days, cellaring is gaining more and more traction among hardcore craft beer consumers, who continue…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to…