Disguises, cross-dressing, mistaken identities and people jumping out of windows are all par for the course in Mozart’s energetic, light-hearted romp through the day of a wedding ceremony.
The Goshen College theater and music departments will collaborate to present the composer’s comic opera “The Marriage of Figaro” in Umble Center Friday and Saturday and April 4 at 8 p.m., and Sunday and April 6 at 3 p.m.
Raising the issues of power, privilege, class conflict, love and friendship, this fully staged 18th century comic opera, sung in both English and Italian (fully captioned), is set in 21st century New York City.
“We’ve tried to make it as current-day as possible, with the addition of cell phones and TV screens to the set and character interplay,” said Deb Brubaker, professor of music and stage director for the opera. “The societal situation at that time is strikingly similar to what is happening in the world today — political structures continue to benefit the upper classes. For this reason, we have chosen to set the play in modern-day New York City, as opposed to Seville, Spain, to highlight how even today, society is still wrestling with old issues.”
“The Marriage of Figaro” continues the plot of “The Barber of Seville” several years later, and recounts a single “day of madness” (la folle giornata) in the palace of the Count Almaviva. Having given Figaro a job as head of his servant-staff, Almaviva is now persistently trying to obtain the favors of Figaro’s bride-to-be, Susanna. He keeps finding excuses to delay the civil part of the wedding of his two servants, which is arranged for that very day.
Figaro, Susanna and the Countess conspire to embarrass the Count and expose his scheming. He responds by trying to compel Figaro legally to marry a woman old enough to be his mother, but it turns out at the last minute that she is really his mother. Through Figaro’s and Susanna’s clever manipulations, the Count’s love for his Countess is finally restored.