January 29, 2010

‘Marriage of Figaro’ on McLeod stage Feb. 11-14

by Vincent Rhomberg

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A universal theme comes alive in McLeod Theater at Southern Illinois University Carbondale with the production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s classic comic opera, “The Marriage of Figaro.”

The opera runs Feb. 11-14, with performances at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday.  Sunday’s performance is a 2 p.m. matinee.  Tickets are $15 for general admission, $12 for senior citizens and $6 for children and students.  Tickets are available at the door beginning an hour before the performance, or in advance at the McLeod Theater box office in the Communications Building on campus.

The story behind the opera could be on the pages of a newspaper today -- a politician abusing power and prestige for sexual pursuits.  Based on the 1784 play by Pierre Beaumarchais, the opera escaped the censorship that saw the banning of the play itself.  This production attempts to re-create the experience of the original audience -- which saw a story of contemporary relevance in contemporary costume and in a contemporary setting.

Accordingly, this production centers around a philandering mayor (instead of a count, as in the original), in a southern California town (rather than a Spanish one, as in the original).  The mayor’s staff, particularly Figaro, attempt to thwart the mayor’s sexual advances toward Figaro’s fiancée.  Figaro’s solution is to create suspicion that the mayor’s wife is having amorous adventures herself, and that jealousy will bring the mayor to heel.  The audience can expect plenty of hiding in closets, jumping form windows, slamming doors, and disguises in this opera.  In keeping with the contemporary atmosphere, the opera is sung in English.

This production is a joint project from the Department of Theater and the School of Music at SIUC.