"WITH A COMPELLING, ORGANIC BLEND of musical, dramatic and visual elements, Utah Opera’s The Marriage of Figaro was an unqualified success. The company’s season-ending production, seen May 7, featured a talented, youthful cast enabled by canny stage and musical direction.
Set in the early twentieth century with a Downton Abbey vibe, servants and nobles matched wits surrounded by Boyd Ostroff’s handsome set of intricate Moorish arches and lattice work. If anything, the updated concept allowed more accessible examination of Figaro’s thematic ideas, including social class entitlement, fidelity and forgiveness, but with enough distance to avoid an air of contemporary preachiness. This balance was expertly achieved by set director Tara Faircloth, whose light touch, dedication to detail and motivation empowered each singer to fully realize their character. Taking a cue from Mozart’s brilliant ability to seamlessly expand from duet to septet and beyond, Faircloth involved each cast member in a meaningful way and used this as a spring-board, validating greater ensemble awareness and contribution.
Baritone Seth Carico as Figaro and soprano Zulimar López-Hernández as Susanna led the impressive cast. The handsome, young couple achieved a charmingly palpable chemistry, and their ability to best the lecherous Count Almaviva was never in doubt. They possessed an energy and physicality that left one wondering how they maintained such wonderfully spun vocal focus.
Baritone Craig Irvin as Count Almaviva and soprano Nicole Heaston as Countess Almaviva were well matched and convincing—he, as a sexual predator empowered by social status"
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