"The Marriage of Figaro" at Augustana College -- November 22 and 23.

Friday, November 22, and Saturday, November 23

Augustana College's Brunner Theatre Center, 3750 Seventh Avenue, Rock Island IL

One of the funniest, most charming, and most popular operas of all time gets a thrilling makeover at Augustana College on November 22 and 23, as the talents of OperX stage their fall production of The Marriage of Figaro – the Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart classic being presented under the direction of Michelle Crouch and boasting a cast of 10 gifted student performers.

The Marriage of Figaro continues the plot of The Barber of Seville several years later, and recounts a single “day of madness” (la folle journée) in the palace of Count Almaviva near Seville, Spain. Rosina is now the Countess; Dr. Bartolo is seeking revenge against Figaro for thwarting his plans to marry Rosina himself; and Count Almaviva has degenerated from the romantic youth of Barber into a scheming, bullying, skirt-chasing baritone. Having gratefully given Figaro a job as head of his servant-staff, he is now persistently trying to exercise his droit du seigneur – his right to bed a servant girl on her wedding night – with Figaro's bride-to-be Susanna, who is the Countess's maid. He keeps finding excuses to delay the civil part of the wedding of his two servants, which is arranged for this very day, while Figaro, Susanna, and the Countess conspire to embarrass the Count and expose his scheming.

Presented in English, and with Dr. Daniel Chetel conducting the Augustana Chamber Orchestra on the opera's three performances, OperX's Marriage of Figaro will be staged in a form abbreviated from the work's usual four acts and three-and-a-half hours. “We're doing about a third of the total music,” says Crouch, “with the centerpiece being Act II. Act II really stands alone very well once the drama is set up a bit, which we are doing with a brief dialogue/pantomime of Act I and Figaro's revenge aria which is briefly reprised in Act II. Then we are performing the Count's famous rage aria and the hilarious recognition sextet from Act II, and finishing with the final forgiveness and reconciliation scene from the Act IV finale, the non-sequential parts joined together by just enough dialogue/pantomime to help the audience have an experience of the plot.”

In addition to her role as an adjunct assistant professor of music at Augustana, Crouch boasts extensive participation in area opera and musical-theatre as director (Opera Quad Cities' The Pirates of Penzance), music director (Augustana's How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying), and performer (Opera @ Augustana's and Genesius Guild's Die Fledermaus). Her Marriage of Figaro cast, meanwhile, is composed of 10 exciting student performers: seniors Amber Mraz (the Countess) and Camille Myeres (Marcellina); juniors Nathaniel Bohrer (Figaro), Zoë Haenisch (Cherubino), Sabrina Massa (Susanna), Zachary Myatt (Bartolo), Elliott Peterson (the Count), and Matthew Postma (Basilio); and sophomores Ryler Knar (Antonio) and Nathan Maras (Don Curzio).

The Marriage of Figaro will be performed in Augustana College's Brunner Theatre Center on November 22 and 23, with performances at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and 2 & 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is $10-14, and more information and tickets are available by calling (309)794-7306 or visiting Augustana.edu.

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