To be perfectly honest, I’ve been so
focused on staging the show, I’ve hardly taken a moment to soak it all in! However, it has been quite a few years since
I’ve been on the East Coast in the spring, and I had forgotten how perfectly
breathtaking it is when everything starts blooming. This is such a gorgeous city… it is a real
pleasure to be back in my native land.
In recent years, you’ve worked as an
assistant director in several major opera houses. What have you learned as an AD that you’ve applied as a stage director?
The job of a big house AD is very intense
and requires a very long list of skills that you might not use as often when
you are in the director chair, most having to do with organization and large
scale communication. As an AD I’ve
developed a strong appreciation for the many technicians and production staff
that make the “magic” happen behind the scenes. I’ve also gotten a lot of
experience working with huge choruses, and have really learned to love how a
chorus can help bring the stage to life and amplify the story.
What are some of your favorite moments,
musically or theatrically, in The Marriage of Figaro?
Where to begin?! Well, maybe at the beginning… when the
curtain rises we meet Figaro and Susanna, busily preparing for their wedding
day. I just love the hustle and bustle,
the playfulness and charm of these adorable people who are so clearly in love. Another favorite moment is the Figaro/Susanna duet in the finale of Act
4. There is a huge amount of physical
comedy in that section, and it ends when Figaro brings it all to a halt with a
big kiss. The two end up giggling on floor together. Musically and dramatically it is really
What is the most complicated scene to
direct in this opera?
This entire opera feels like a three-ring
circus from start to finish, with only small pause for breath during the
Countess’s arias and Susanna’s Act 4 aria. The rest of the time it is non-stop action. A household run by Figaro and Susanna would
be nothing less! Probably the most
physically (and mentally?) demanding scene is the finale of Act 4. There is an awful lot of back and forth, with
ladies in disguise, wrong exits, and intense wooing in the dark. Keeping up with it all is a real trick!
This show has several strong female
characters. What’s your take on their relationships and their world?
I love the women of Nozze. They are smart
and strong, and when they get hurt, they shed a tear and then they pick
themselves back up again. In another
opera, the Countess would probably go lose her mind when faced with her
husband’s infidelities. We would end with a mad scene and suicide. Not our Countess! She calls up the smartest lady she knows
(Susanna) and makes a plan.
What advice would you give to an audience
member enjoying The Marriage of Figaro for the first time?
your seatbelt! This is an opera that is
filled to the brim with gorgeous and amusing tunes, and they are sung by
genuine, fully-developed characters experiencing all the many aspects of
love. Please laugh, but also allow
yourself to feel the pain of the Countess when she realizes she no longer holds
interest for her husband, or the jealousy and heartache of Figaro when he discovers he has been laughing at his
own expense. Relish how generously Mozart expends his beautiful music… even
the most ludicrous moments are exquisitely beautiful, because he has tunes to
spare. This is an amazing cast, and I
think it will be quite clear why this is one of the most beloved operas of all