It has been a fun journey putting this together, and I look forward to telling this story this weekend. The action takes place over the course of one day, but it is a lot of life to live in three hours.
So who is this guy Figaro? What does he want? Does he get it? These are questions I ask every time I start rehearsing a new production, and I ask them again as we put it together, and yet again when I am putting on my costume. I'm not sure I know the answers completely (I mean how could I? Do any of us really know that info about ourselves? Maybe you do. I don't). What I do know is that the Big Fig spends an awful lot of the opera just trying to get married. In every appearance up to the wedding scene he unveils a new scheme to accomplish this goal. He is madly in love with Susanna. He has to be, right? She is the only one in the opera who is smarter than he is, and she is his partner in every way. I feel like the conflict he faces in the opera is reconciling the two sides of his nature; the one that loves and cares for Susanna unequivocally (the sensitive-new-age Figaro), and the hot-headed guy who sees deception everywhere, even in his bride-to-be (frat boy Figaro?). The former side is an alternative to the Count, and the latter is his doppelgänger. I think in a lot of ways this opera (at least for Fig) is about his evolution and self-realization; when he puts his doubts aside and unequivocally accepts Susanna as his partner, he becomes ready to be her husband, and he is redeemed by her love. The virtue of forgiveness and the redemption of the men in this opera by the women in this opera is an overarching theme. I think it eclipses the class conflict theme (more dominant in the play) by about a zillion percent.
In acting class you talk about where your character's center is- their head, heart, lower, etc. I picture Figaro's center is in Susanna, and the opera is about how he finds his center.
And the music is pretty good too. But I digest....
This has been a very gratifying experience as an artist. I didn't expect this tiny, tucked-away company in the middle of Vermont to be such a rich environment, with the kind of artistic give and take that at once energizes and recharges our spirits. I guess that's high-falutin' blogspeak for awesomeness. Hats off to the artistic director Taras Kulish, our director Ellen Schlaefer, the Maestro Jacques LaCombe, and the intensely talented cast and crew.
My heart is in Milwaukee this morning celebrating 50 years of the Skylight. Let's hope it has 50 more.