Le nozze di Figaro at Zurich Opera – a mercurial ensemble enchants – Seen and Heard Worldwide


Switzerland Mozart, Le nozze di Figaro: Soloists, Philharmonia Zurich / Christoph König (conductor). Zurich Opera, 7.10.2022. (MF)

(c) Herwig Prammer

Director – Jan Philipp Gloger
Set – Ben Baur
Choir – Ernst Raffelsberger
Lighting – Martin Gebhardt
Videography – Tieni Burkhalter
Dramaturgy – Claus Spahn

Il Conte di Almaviva – Markus Werba
La Contessa di Almaviva – Sine Bundgaard
Figaro – Morgan Pearse
Susanna – Sandra Hamaoui
Cherubino – Lea Desandre
Marcellina – Malin Hartelius
Bartolo – Yorck Felix Speer
Basilio – Spencer Lang
Don Curzio – Martin Zysset
Barbarina – Chelsea Zurflüh
Antonio – Ruben Drole

The dishonest begins even earlier than the primary notice is performed. With the home lights nonetheless on, a code of conduct on sexual harassment is projected onto the black curtain, a code of conduct maybe not dissimilar to the one the Zurich Opera lately put in place for itself. Forward of the orchestra embarking on the overture, the Rely and Basilio – appearing as his sleazy PA/factotum – overview the code, amending and tweaking it in order to swimsuit the Rely’s intentions for the remainder of this ‘mad day’. Within the course of, they don’t overlook so as to add some gender-neutral spelling.

Director Jan Philipp Gloger convincingly interprets the opera’s matters of relationships between completely different energy ranges and their appropriateness, in addition to fluidity between the sexes and genders, into in the present day’s spheres of the #metoo motion, to not point out hyperbolic political correctness and wokeness (cue Basilio’s yogic respiratory workouts and messy bun coiffure). This Zurich manufacturing is a modern-day “Upstairs Downstairs” comedy. The directing convinces with precision, it’s humorous, wealthy intimately and racing as a lot as often racy, leaving enough respiratory room for the moments of introspection.

Over the course of the 4 acts, we’re taken via the Rely’s palatial dwelling. The manufacturing begins in a barely grubby yard doubling as a room, a single mattress al fresco on this case, which the Rely has allotted to Figaro and Susanna. Cherubino’s first look in a purple and white The place’s-Wally jumper marks the start of his whirlwind evolution. The character unfolds from a sheepish beanpole with Pinocchio-like puppet actions right into a teenager clearly not afraid of taking the motion in his personal palms, and past. French mezzo soprano Lea Desandre brilliantly inhabits the position, beaming with need and an urge for food for all times. Cherubino’s ‘Non so più cosa son, cosa faccio’, rendered with seductive radiance by Desandre, turns into the leitmotiv for the whole manufacturing.

The second act is about in a bleak basement laundry room. The Countess’ opening ‘Porgi, amor’ goes straight to the guts. Sine Bundgard brings to the stage a mixture of depth and delightful despair. Happily, she desists from her subsequent suicide try permitting us to witness the crossdressing of Cherubino with the assistance of Susanna, a marvelously full of life and versatile Sandra Hamoui. Even when it’s the girls who steal the present on this manufacturing, it’s in fact as a lot concerning the males. The Rely joins the scene as a blasé buffoon in a tightly becoming polo uniform full with knee-high using boots. As if to underline Susanna’s principal position in devising the plot’s major turns, the boys get loads of pushing and pulling round by the ladies. Figaro, whereas imagining enjoying the guitar for the Rely’s dancing (‘se vuol ballare signor Contino’), passionately wields a leaf rake, a far cry from the pitchforks that made actual revolutions.

For the third act the motion strikes up a number of flooring to a excessive ceiling salon the place the Rely, reclining on an ottoman, drink and shot glass in hand, displays on his fallibility. Atop the pile of espresso desk artwork books sits a heavy quantity on Magritte. The Countess treats us to a different second of heavy -hearted and transcendent magnificence along with her aria ‘Dove sono i bei momenti’, lamenting the lack of her happiness. The third act culminates within the wedding ceremony get together and we’re, for a second, left questioning if the celebratory letter balloons that are hoisted don’t, in any case, spell “Simply Marred” (they don’t, the “i” is there).

Earlier than the ultimate act opens Cherubino takes a go at tweaking the code of conduct, clearly following within the Rely’s footsteps. We then discover ourselves in a considerably claustrophobic attic, the whole forged nonetheless visibly hung over. Every goes after the opposite, with out really realizing (eager to know?) whom they’re chasing – qui lo fan tutti. Even Bartolo and Basilio uncover a mutual attraction. By turning off the lights with a decided punch on the major electrical energy swap, Susanna makes it clear that every one the jolly loving and forgiving sung about within the ultimate tutti is at greatest short-term.

The forged is universally very good, it melts into a real ensemble. Their enjoyment of bringing the story to life is palpable. We profit from director Jan Philipp Gloger’s background as each an opera and theatre director. The boys universally act and sing with coronary heart and humour. The viewers will fortunately keep in mind a facetiously self-deprecating Markus Werba because the Rely and Morgan Pearse as Figaro with an enthralling stage presence and richly resonating voice. Spencer Lang’s hipster Basilio is a comic book delight.

Christian König directs a Philharmonia Zurich on wonderful type. The orchestra, acting from an elevated pit, performs with chamber musical lightness and accuracy, doing full justice to this masterpiece. In a number of the extra tumultuous scenes one can already hear Rossini’s Barbiere beckoning from afar.

Michael Fischer


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