Music school to present ‘Le Nozze Di Figaro’

The Portland State School of Music will present Le Nozze Di Figaro, or The Marriage of Figaro, from April 17–26. All performances will be held at the Lincoln Performance Hall. Tickets are $26 for adults, $24 for seniors and $15 for students, PSU faculty and staff.

Composed by the musical master Amadeus Mozart and aided by the talents of Lorenzo Del Ponte, the comical marriage of Figaro and his betrothed Susanna is a four-act comedic opera of romance, charm, wit and passion.

The opera will be sung in Italian with English surtitles.

Christine Meadows, opera production director in the PSU School of Music, is excited to be bringing Mozart back into the spotlight.

“We haven’t done Mozart for a while,” Meadows said. “[Mozart] is so good for students because he’s one of the most exposing composers. You really have to be able to sing things beautifully and cleanly, and very much in tune. Any little things show in Mozart because of the way he writes.”

One of the many talents Mozart and Del Ponte bring to audience members with Figaro is the many ways in which characters are relatable.

Bob Kingston, a local music expert, has been involved with the School of Music for four years and will present an informative pre-performance lecture an hour before the show.

Kingston said one of the reasons Figaro continues to speak to audiences 230 years after its premiere is that
Mozart and De Ponte created characters who deal with issues that resonate with us now: love, courtship, infidelity, forgiveness and reconciliation.

“What’s perhaps most remarkable about this opera is that these issues are presented in ways that seem fresh and surprisingly modern. How this happens is a great mystery, and is also a testament to the genius of these two men,” Kingston said.

Kingston said there has been some concern that the use of surtitles might be distracting, but that he believes they are no more distracting than subtitles in a foreign film.

“We can take in a line or two [of] text in a fraction of a second without really missing much of the action,” Kingston said. “I suppose we sacrifice something when [surtitles] give us the punchline before the music does, but that’s a small price to pay for understanding the subtle nuances of a great libretto like the one Lorenzo Del Ponte created for Figaro.”

Haley Maddox, a senior in the School of Music, is excited about her role as Cherubino, the sex-crazed adolescent pageboy.

“I’m enjoying the challenge of playing a boy because it’s the first pants role I’ve ever played,” Maddox said.
Maddox said Figaro has been difficult. She had a lead role in the opera last year, and while the music was difficult, she was playing a woman and singing in English.

“Now I’m playing a boy, and the music is higher…it’s much harder because there are more aspects to it that don’t come as naturally,” Maddox said.

Audience members are sure to be fully engaged during the performance.

“When I listen to or watch a performance of FigaroW, I never once feel like I’m experiencing something dated or old-fashioned,” Kingston said. “This work still speaks to us across the centuries because it deals with things that are timeless and universal.”