Opera Scotland

Nozze di Figaro 2019University of St Andrews Opera Society

Read more about the opera Marriage of Figaro

When it became known that the St Andrews University Opera Society was to perform Mozart's Marriage of Figaro, some thought it too ambitious. Young voices would struggle to be heard over the orchestra.  The opera requires superb acting and comic timing.  In the event, on the first of three performances, the reaction of the audience told its own story, when applause, laughs and sighs came at the correct points. In fact, one wondered why there were some empty seats.  If people were assuming the first night would be sub-standard, they were far wide of the mark.

The production, in modern dress, was clearly focussed, detailed and to the point, but not too 'busy'. There was the occasional sign of first night nerves. The band took a little time to settle down; the lighting went awry a couple of times and so on. This version by Jeremy Sams  was witty, and the reduced orchestration of Joseph Lyness worked well.

It was crisply performed. The main characters were clearly portrayed, while there was some neat characterisation of the minor characters too. The gardener Antonio turned out to have two hip flasks, revealed one after the other, at which point he turned to take a top up from the sideboard! The principal singers all performed well.  In particular the anger or frustration of the Count (Theodore Day) was made clear, and the friskiness of Cherubino (Charlotte Perkins) was well projected. The attention of the audience seemed caught from the start, The other principals (Ross McArthur as Figaro, Imogen Welch as Susanna and Kristal Knudsen as the Countess) all deserved praise.

There really was much to enjoy in this performance. Young voices are often sweet, even if at times underpowered and the audience enjoyed the familiar music.  It was clear the magic combination of Mozart and da Ponte still works.

Michael Downes, Head of Music, is normally to be found on the podium, but for these performances was demonstrating his versatility by playing the double bass.

Thoroughly recommended.

Admission £10 (£8 concessions)

Performance Cast

Figaro the Count's valet

Ross McArthur

Susanna the Countess's maid

Imogen Welch

Cherubino the Count's page

Charlotte Perkins

Count Almaviva

Theodore Day

Bartolo a doctor, the Countess's former guardian

Anthony Hickling

Marcellina Bartolo's housekeeper

Holly Scrivener

Don Basilio a priest and music master

Andrew Mundy

Countess Almaviva

Kristel Vinter Knudsen

Antonio a gardener, Susanna's uncle

Keir Williams

Don Curzio a lawyer

Benedict Connaughton

Barbarina daugher of Antonio

Emily Fielder

Performance DatesNozze di Figaro 2019

Map List

Byre Theatre | St Andrews

11 Mar, 19.30 12 Mar, 19.30 13 Mar, 19.30

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