The Marriage Of Figaro – Review

New Cornwall Opera
reviewed by Jenni Balow

The New Cornwall Opera performs a perfect marriage this week giving sell out audiences a treat for their senses with sublime singing on the county’s most stunning summer stage.

Director David Gibson and conductor Rico Gerber present Mozart’s four act comic opera The Marriage of Figaro, sung in English, with libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte.

Two large casts include international professional singers who stroll through this marathon three hour production, which amounts to a courtly 18th century romp. On the opening night Alastair Merry made his debut with the company as the Count, along with Thomas Kennedy playing Figaro, his personal valet. Their fine voices and expressive acting compliment the glorious singing of Cheryl Brendish as the Countess, and Maria Gay as her maid Susanna.

Rico Gerber’s orchestral arrangement is the perfect fit and as well as conducting, he plays a ‘harpsichord’ keyboard along with a sweet sounding band of musicians who marry the familiar music to the action on the wide stage, lit by Simon Hutchings, with Swen Kearey in charge of sound.

Catherine Best whose “heart seems to burst into flame” is the Count’s amorous page, Marcellina, Kim Elizabeth Gough, Bartolo, Leon Berger, Basilio, Matt Eva, Barbarina, Natalie Stevens, Antonio, Tim Boggis, and the bridesmaid, Mari Hafsas.

The seriously good singing and playful plot, which involves trickery, connivance and confusion between the couples, as men dress as women, who also swap cloaks and constantly find it necessary to hide or ‘jump out of windows’ makes for plenty of entertainment and is easy to follow for audiences new to the opera. Vocal director Shirley Tyack ensures that the diction is clear – and rest assured, Figaro will finally figure out how to fall on his feet.