Halloween season at Florida State University’s College of Music is once again slated to be a colorful and costumed affair as FSU Opera presents its fall production, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro.”
The opera features music that all ears will find familiar from its use in television and film. The story is based on one of three plays by French Revolution-era playwright Pierre Beaumarchais. The story is set in Spain, but the revolutionary mood is in the air, particularly in the historically representative costuming created by designer Christina Marullo.
“The whole institution of the aristocracy is being attacked,” director Matthew Lata said. “The Count wants to hold on to aristocratic practices or reinstate old ways without regard for his people’s displeasure.”
Those familiar with “The Barber of Seville” will find several familiar characters in “Le Nozze”: Count Almaviva, his love Rosina — now the Countess — and the titular barber, Figaro. Several years have passed since the events of “The Barber of Seville.” Figaro has become the Count’s manservant and has fallen in love with Susanna, the Countess’s maid. However, in an attempt to vitalize his life, the Count has also taken a liking to Susanna, an act distinctly noticed by Figaro and the Countess. Tricks and traps play out over the course of the opera as Figaro and Susanna navigate their wedding day.
“It is a real statement of independence, with Figaro and Susanna getting married despite any of the Count’s interference,” Lata said. “We are really focused on telling a story of the characters as humans, as is laid out in the score and libretto.”
Doctoral students Brittany Fouché Strine and Ye Ji Lee (who was last seen on the Ruby Diamond stage as Pamina in last fall’s “Die Zauberflöte”), play the role of Susanna.
“Susanna is an 18th century feminist icon — she is sassy and brilliant,” Fouché Strine said. “She is the smartest person on stage, and she is almost always one step ahead of whatever manipulative plot is in play against her.”
This production has given these students a brilliant opportunity to bring this period piece to life and they have absolutely risen to the occasion. Maestro Christiaan Crans, who is joining the College of Music’s faculty for the 2022-2023 season as music director and coach, is conducting.
“This beloved comic opera by Mozart returns to Ruby Diamond Concert Hall bursting with great singing, clever humor and beautiful sets and costuming,” said Gregory Jones, Associate Dean of Outreach and Engagement at the College of Music. “We are so fortunate to have one of the very best opera programs in the nation at Florida State, so don’t miss the opportunity to experience the beautiful music, witty acting and stunning imagery that will come together in this imaginative production. FSU Opera is one of Tallahassee’s true treasures and not to be missed.”
Performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27 through Saturday, Oct. 29 and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 30 at Ruby Diamond Concert Hall in the Westcott Building on FSU’s campus.
There will be a preshow lecture one hour prior to curtain in Room 60 of the Westcott Building. Tickets are available online at tickets.music.fsu.edu and range from $10-$20.