Portland Opera Presents Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro

CONTACT: Julia Sheridan, 503-295-3508, jsheridan@portlandopera.org
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November 4, 6m, 10, 12, 2011 | Keller Auditorium, SW 3rd & Clay

(Portland, Ore) – Portland Opera announces a classic production of Mozart’s great comic masterpiece, The Marriage of Figaro.  His masterwork focuses on the delicate, and historically controversial, interplay between the 18th century nobility and serving class in a way that is both humorous and touchingly human. Considered by many to be the most perfect opera ever written, Mozart’s music is well-crafted and sophisticated as well as tuneful and infectious and Da Ponte’s dialogue is subtle, witty and involving. The Marriage of Figaro opens November 4 with additional performances on November 6m, 10 & 12.

“Opera has the power to have an extraordinary effect on audiences and their lives,” says Portland Opera General Director Christopher Mattaliano, “and this is a comedy that is very much related to humanity,  The Marriage of Figaro explores that most mysterious human experience, love, in all its many forms.”
The story unfolds as jack-of-all-trades, Figaro, and the lovely Susanna, both servants to Count Almaviva, prepare for their much-anticipated wedding.  Unknown to Figaro, the Count has his eye on Susanna and plans to exercise his “droit de seigneur,” his right as a nobleman to sleep with any servant on her wedding night.  When the Countess, pining away in her loveless marriage, catches wind of her husband’s adulterous advances, the action takes off.  In a single, whirlwind day, delightful mayhem ensues, concluding with one of the most touching and human finales in all of opera.

Figaro’s beginnings were contentious. The original play, by Beaumarchais, was banned by ruling authorities in France and is credited with leading to the French Revolution.  Mozart's opera made the Austrian monarchy more than a little bit nervous.  Both the play and the opera clearly illuminate the limitations of rank and privilege, showing that common sense can readily overcome wealth and power, and that genuine humility easily upstages unwarranted arrogance.


The cast includes a delicious mix of exciting Company debuts and highly anticipated returns. Singing the title role is baritone DANIEL MOBBS (Leporello in Don Giovanni, 2006, Lord Sidney in The Journey to Reims, 2004).  The New York Times called his recent performance as Figaro in The Barber of Seville “robust [and] sassy.”  Opera News wrote that as Figaro he showed “wit and charm, along with thrilling vocalism.“

Singing Susanna is soprano JENNIFER AYLMER (title role in Rodelinda, 2008).  The New York Times has hailed her for her “awesome accuracy,” and proclaimed that “hearing her live was one of the greatest pleasures.”  The dashing bass baritone DAVID PITTSINGER returns as Count Almaviva (title role in Don Giovanni, 2006).  He appeared recently in Portland as Emile de Becque in the touring Broadway production of the acclaimed South PacificThe Los Angeles Downtown News said that his Count was “a gentler, kinder, even likable philanderer.  Even his most evil aria . . . is rendered with genuine charm.” Mezzo soprano JENNIFER HOLLOWAYmakes her Company debut as Cherubino. New York Magazine noted her “vibrant mezzo-soprano and generous presence.” The Los Angeles Times declared her appearance in Tamerlano at Los Angeles Opera as “noble in bearing and in voice.”  Soprano PAMELA ARMSTRONG (The Tales of Hoffmann, 2003) sings Countess Almaviva.  The New York Times Anthony Tommasini described her performance in La Rondine for New York City Opera as “lovely, rich-voiced and bittersweet . . . with soaring high notes.”

Stage Director STEPHEN LAWLESS makes his debut at Portland Opera.  The New York Times said his direction of Don Giovanni at Metropolitan Opera showed “care and intelligence . . . the kind of true theater that opera in general . . . does not often approach.”  Conductor ARI PELTO (Hansel and Gretel, 2010, The Magic Flute, 2007) returns to the podium.  The classic sets were designed by Benoit Dugardyn with costumes by Johann Stegmeir.  Sung in Italian with projected English translations.  Sets and costumes are from Glimmerglass Opera.


Figaro                       Daniel Mobbs
Susanna                   Jennifer Aylmer
Count Almaviva        David Pittsinger
Countess Almaviva   Pamela Armstrong
Cherubino                 Jennifer Holloway* 
Bartolo                      Kurt Link
Marcellina                 Allison Swensen-Mitchell
Don Basilio               Jon Kolbet
Don Curzio               Carl Halvorson
Barbarina                  Lindsay Ohse†
Antonio                     Stacey Murdock*

Conductor                 Ari Pelto
Stage Director          Stephen Lawless*
With the Portland Opera Chorus and Orchestra

* Portland Opera debut

† Portland Opera Studio Artist

For musical excerpts, plot synopsis and detailed cast bios visit www.portlandopera.org.


Music:               Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto:            Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte, from the play by Beaumarchais
Lyrics:                Sung in Italian with English translations projected above the stage.
World Premiere:        Imperial Court Theatre, Vienna: May 1, 1786
Portland Opera Premiere:    May 1972

PERFORMANCES:      November 4, 6m, 10, 12, 2011
All performances begin at 7:30pm, with the exception of the 2:00pm matinee on November 6.

(Calendar Editors Kindly Note)

In its ongoing quest to make Opera as accessible as possible, Portland Opera has a robust schedule of events designed to explore the many facets of The Marriage of Figaro.

10/27/11    “Northwest Previews,” All Classical 89.9 fm at 6pm
10/29/11    Salem Public Library (585 Liberty St. SE) in Loucks Auditorium, 2:30pm, Free
10/30/11    Multnomah County Central Library, Collins Gallery, 2pm, Free

Destination Opera: From Music to Psyche
A unique partnership with the Oregon Psychoanalytic Center, Destination Opera explores the hidden subtexts of each opera this season. Ralph Beaumont, MD, joins Alexis Hamilton, Manager of Education and Outreach, to debate and discuss The Marriage of Figaro.  
11/11/11        7:00pm | Sherman Clay Pianos | 131 NW 13th Ave. | Free

Opera Insights
These free and informative sessions, led by musicologist Bob Kingston, focus on the music and history behind the evening’s opera in ways that make the evening’s performance even more satisfying.

1 hour prior to each performance | First Balcony Level.  Free.

Back Talk
Immediately after each opera performance, audiences are invited to join General Director Christopher Mattaliano and an interesting variety of guests that will include fresh-from-their-dressing- room performers, directors and conductors for a 20-30 minute Q&A.  

Orchestra Level | Free




Fri. 11/04, Thurs. 11/10, Sat. 11/12 at 7:30pm  |  Sun. 11/06 at 2:00pm

Tickets, starting as low as $20.00, can be purchased:
BY PHONE:    Portland Opera Box Office, 503-241-1802, Toll-free 866-739-6737, (Mon – Fri, 9:00am –5:00pm). Ticketmaster, (800) 982-ARTS (days, evenings, and weekends).
ONLINE:     www.ticketmaster.com  
IN-PERSON:    Portland Opera Box Office, 211 SE Caruthers St. (just south of OMSI, off Water Ave.) Mon – Fri, 9:00am – 5:00pm.  Ticketmaster outlets,  Portland Center for the Performing Arts (SW Broadway & Main).  
GROUPS:     10 or more save up to 20% by calling Group Sales at 503-417-0573.
6:30 RUSH:      Students/Military $10 per ticket, Seniors $20 per ticket, 1 hour prior to show only, all available unsold seats. 1 ticket per person, valid ID required

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