AU ABROAD

Arts Review: Opera Australia’s "The Marriage of Figaro" - Sydney Opera House (performances to 29th August)

When one thinks “opera” they generally imagine dramatic tales of lovers destined to die for the sake of being together forever- and singing rather loudly about it all. Lighthearted hilarity and lively fun don’t tend to be at the forefront of descriptors, but these are most apt for Opera Australia’s latest production The Marriage of Figaro.

The opera is a tale of husbands and wives, of fits and folly and energetic tunes. This is still opera of course, so the voices soar, but they are slightly easier on the ear than your more virtuous arias. It’s all very enjoyable!

The tale follows the upcoming matrimony of the jolly steward Figaro (Paolo Bordogna) and witty maid Susanna (Taryn Fiebig). Their happiness is about to hit a bump though- as the Count (Andrei Bondarenko) is determined to have Susanna as his own and lays careful plans to get his way. Which are thwarted by Susanna, Figaro and the Countess (Nicole Car) with a plan of their own; which is in turn upheaved by a new plan by the Count; which then takes a surprising turn with a rather hilarious plot reveal; upon which sparks a new plan soon to be misunderstood by everybody… And so on the game goes with even the characters exclaiming at a certain point that they have no idea what is going on any more!

The set is absolutely stunning- with gorgeous courtyards and large spacious rooms and the most realistic lighting I’ve seen on stage. There are several beautiful duets in the opera, and the voices of Taryn Fiebig and Nicole Car singing together are simply superb. Paolo Bordogna bounces around stage with the exact happy energy that you need from Figaro and his voice is just as pleasing. Andrei Bondarenko brings a great depth to the Count, and Anna Dowlsey is completely adorable as the young page Cherubino.

This is an opera full of light and warm fuzzy feelings, and it’s enjoyable tale ends with the audience feeling rather a good deal the same as it’s characters as they sing- “all will now be happy”.

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The Marriage of Figaro will be jolly at the Sydney Opera House until the 29th August. For more information visit http://www.opera.org.au/

The reviewer attended the performance on the 13th August

Photos credit © Prudence Upton