A marriage of lies and intrigue

Meredith Compton

Students and faculty stage ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ opera

Performers for the School of Music’s “The Marriage of Figaro” rehearse yesterday in the Music and Speech Building. The performance will run in the Carl F. W. Ludwig Recital Hall March 10 and 12. MICHELE ROEHRIG | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

A marriage of sex, lies, deception and intrigue will be coming to Kent State in March.

The Hugh A. Glauser School of Music will be presenting “The Marriage of Figaro” March 10 and 12. The cast is currently rehearsing twice a week, taking time to practice both their vocal parts and the physical acting involved in the production.

The opera is based on a play by Pierre Beaumarchais, and the music was written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The story features many interesting love triangles, cheating spouses, plotting lovers and, in the end, apologies and happiness for all, said members from the cast that features students and faculty members.

“The Marriage of Figaro” was first performed in Vienna in 1786 and Kent State’s production coincides with Mozart’s 250th birthday Jan. 27.

“Mozart’s fabulous,” said cast member Marshall Haning, music education major. “You can’t beat Mozart, and this is one of his best operas.”

The cast began working on the production the weekend before spring semester started. They have 21 group rehearsals before opening night, but the production also requires each actor numerous hours of practice on his or her own.

The actors must memorize 481 pages of nothing but music. They also must learn the other actor’s parts because of quick music changes.

“The memorization is the hardest part,” said cast member Corey Fowler, freshman music education major.

Fowler added part of the preparation is “reading the text and knowing what you’re singing before rehearsals.”

The cast is also following one of Mozart’s practices – women playing men. Mozart wrote many of his operas with the intention of women singing the men’s soprano vocal parts.

Adrienne Smedley, a Kent State alumna, and Shaina Vencel, junior music major, will be sharing the role of Cherubino, a 14-year-old page boy.

“It’s very satirical,” Haning said. “It poked fun at the feudal system.”

Even though the opera has been around for 220 years, members of the cast said it still suits modern themes.

“People think it’s outdated, but if you read through some of the arias, you’ll laugh out loud,” Fowler said.

Contrary to the 1786 production, Kent State’s performance is in English instead of Italian – something that will be helpful to the audience.

“You can understand what’s going on,” Haning said.

John Sikora is directing the production. The assistant professor of opera thought his department was capable of handling the hard work the opera requires.

“Mr. Sikora decided we had the caliber to do this, and I think we’ve proved it so far,” said cast member Matt White, junior music major. “The orchestra is really geared up as well.”

The production will open with a 7:30 p.m. performance on Friday, March 10 and will close with a 7 p.m. performance on Sunday, March 12.

Contact performing arts reporter Meredith Compton at [email protected].