Salsa-style spices up ‘Marriage of Figaro’ in Northridge

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Center Stage Opera’s recent production of Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro presented at Plaza del Sol Performance Hall at CSUN, was full of surprises. The story, which continues the plot of The Barber of Seville, was originally set in Seville, Spain in the late 18th century. CSO moves the action to Mexico City in the late 1800s for this farcical romp filled with romance, betrayal and mistaken identity.

Mozart’s score, especially the overture, has some of the most recognizable music ever written for the opera stage. Weaving traditional Mariachi music performed by the group Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuellar into Mozart’s score for the wedding scene was a nice twist that added to the Mexican flavor.

As always, the production featured some of the finest vocal and instrumental artists available. Being an Opera Buffa, or comic opera, it requires the performers to balance comic timing with Mozart’s score. Judging by the bursts of laughter from the appreciative audience, I think the performers succeeded in bringing out the wit and humor in the story. It was sung in Italian with English supertitles.

CSO always tries to make opera accessible to everyone, even those who think they might not like it. One of their next productions, the world premiere of a new opera, Alice in Wonderland, should be fun for the whole family. The date is not yet set but it will be sometime in late summer.

“Marriage of Figaro” played January 26 and 27 at Plaza del Sol Performance Hall at Cal State University Northridge. Visit CenterStageOpera.org or their Facebook page for more information.  

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