State Opera South Australia has announced that it will present The Marriage of Figaro at Her Majesty’s Theatre in November this year. Long before Married at First Sight and Bridgerton, Mozart gave the world a slap-stick rom-com for the ages, now presented in a bold, modern version directed by Adelaide-based Nicholas Cannon.
Cannon said he’s honoured to be making his mainstage directorial debut with one of the world’s most popular operas for State Opera this year.
“Together with our incredible cast and creatives, we’re catapulting the narrative into modern day with renowned operatic classics and a vibrant, fizzing score; complemented by striking sets and lighting to truly delight opera-goers.”
“Enthralled audiences will be on the edge of their seats as Figaro and his betrothed fight the odds on their way to the altar,” he said.
Arts Minister Andrea Michaels MP is just as thrilled about this brand new home-grown production: “It’s incredibly exciting to have State Opera presenting Mozart’s beloved The Marriage of Figaro at Her Majesty’s Theatre this year.” she said. “It is sure to be an absolute hit and attract opera lovers from far and wide to enjoy this classic re-telling with a modern twist.”
The Marriage of Figaro is a story filled with love, drama and scandal. A man and a woman fall in love and plan to marry until unimaginable drama ensues in the lead up to the wedding. Forbidden crushes are disclosed, revenge plots carried out and secret long-lost sons revealed! Throw in a handsy boss, a cheating scandal, drunken gardeners, solicitous lawyers, scorned wives and some cheeky bridesmaids, and the perfect day soon erupts into chaos.
A treasure of Adelaide’s opera scene, soprano Dean makes her debut as Susanna, having previously performed for State Opera in Voss and the regional tour of original Australian opera Love Burns.
London-based bass-baritone and one of Australia’s brightest up-and-coming opera talents, Kleeman returns home to perform the title role of Figaro, as he did with Opera Queensland in 2021. Over the past years, he has been performing coveted roles both throughout Europe and on home soil with West Australian Opera, Opera Australia and Victorian Opera.
Kleeman said Figaro is the quintessential underdog and it’s impossible for the audience not to side with him. “It is a lot of fun to play a character like Figaro who is full of cheekiness, wittiness, boldness and charisma. He and Susanna are the lowest rungs on the social ladder yet present the most intelligent and thoughtful figures in the piece.”
Dean adds, “Be prepared to have a laugh and be moved. Figaro is the ultimate rom-com full of truth and incredible beauty. It’s the perfect opera for first timers as it really has a bit of everything”.
Bringing their vocal richness to the powerful Count and Countess are baritone Nicholas Lester, alumni of Elder Conservatorium, and soprano Petah Cavallaro, principal young artist at Opera Australia, alongside mezzo-soprano Emily Edmonds in the trouser role of Cherubino.
The principal cast rounds out with a parade of Adelaide’s own gifted artists: Pelham Andrews as Dr Bartolo, Mark Oates as Basilio, Lucy Stoddart as Barbarina, Cherie Boogaart as Marcellina, and Jeremy Tatchell as Antonio.
South Australian talent shines bright in the creative team as well: the stunning set and costume designs from Ailsa Paterson, together with lighting designed by Tony award winner Nigel Levings set the stage for a truly hilarious, romantic and breath-taking production.
In the pit, conductor Tobias Ringborg helms the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, having previously conducted Madama Butterfly for State Opera in 2019.
“This is the opera you know without knowing you know it. Although the story was written in 1786, there are themes and poignant messages about class, fidelity and equality that are still relevant today. Not to mention, the overture, commonly known as the unofficial wedding march, is unequivocally one of the most recognisable pieces of classical music,” said Cannon.
The premier production of The Marriage of Figaro is set to hit Adelaide for a five-show season in November, with tickets on sale from Sunday 2 July.