Opera Scotland

Nozze di Figaro 2017Magnetic Opera

Read more about the opera Marriage of Figaro

For their fourth visit to the Fringe, Magnetic Opera, a group of students and recent graduates, brought their first staging of a Mozart opera, The Marriage of Figaro. As before, the venue chosen was the Lauriston Halls, an excellent auditorium with just the right scale for this group. At the opening performance they were quite justifiably greeted with great enthusiasm by a near-capacity audience.

The orchestra was an excellent band of nine - five strings and four wind, beautifully controlled by Calum Fraser, who kept just the right natural-sounding momentum. The reduction by Kenneth Roberts ensured that the beautiful solo woodwind phrasing came over nicely.

The work was played in English, in modern dress, and using very simple settings - the most important thing with such a tiny stage being to avoid too much clutter. Inevitably, with a fringe show, abbreviation was necessary to some extent, starting at 5:30 and finishing just after eight with the one interval. The main method used to achieve this was to ditch the recitative in favour of brisk dialogue, provided by director Adam Torrance. In general it worked well - the usual harpsichord can seem rather incongruous in modern dress anyway - and it allowed these young singers to concentrate on their renderings of the superb arias and complex ensembles  with which the glorious work is crammed.

While it is essentially an ensemble piece, with all the performers working very satisfactorily together, some of the arias did stand out, from Catriona Hewitson's Susanna, Francesca Matta's Countess and Niall Kennedy's Count in particular. Extra visual humour was extracted from the unusual height of Figaro by comparison with his two parents. Also it was interesting to see the doubling of roles as in the 1786 premiere - not just Basilio and Curzio, which happens often enough, but also the differentiation between Bartolo and Antonio. 

In all, this was a most enjoyable way to spend an early evening on the Fringe.

Performance Cast

Figaro the Count's valet

James Quilligan

Susanna the Countess's maid

Catriona Hewitson

Bartolo a doctor, the Countess's former guardian

Edmund Caird

Marcellina Bartolo's housekeeper

Lauren Young

Cherubino the Count's page

Flora Macdonald

Count Almaviva

Niall Kennedy

Don Basilio a priest and music master

Dominic Lee

Countess Almaviva

Francesca Matta

Antonio a gardener, Susanna's uncle

Edmund Caird

Don Curzio a lawyer

Dominic Lee

Barbarina daugher of Antonio

Mary Walker

Performance DatesNozze di Figaro 2017

Map List

Lauriston Halls | Edinburgh

23 Aug, 17.30 25 Aug, 17.30 26 Aug, 17.30

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