The plot of Mozart’s cherished opera buffa, composed in 1786, is an endless round of complications involving love, lust, jealousy, becloaked identities and devilish ruses. Figaro is based on the second work in a trilogy of plays by the Frenchman Pierre Beaumarchais, the first of which, The Barber of Seville, was later immortalized in opera by Rossini (1816).
The full flower of the composer’s genius is well in evidence, with familiar and beloved melodies that find expression in a breathlessly lilting and classic overture. And its various arias and duets have maintained their place in the popular consciousness, thanks in part to films such as Trading Places and The Shawshank Redemption. Not that this piece needs popularizing — it’s consistently among the most performed in the standard operatic repertoire.
Its original four acts are presented here in two, and director John Hoomes has moved the orchestra out of the pit for his innovative staging. Among the five principal singers — Scott Conner, Anne-Carolyn Bird, Corey McKern, Georgia Jarman and Kirsten Gunlogson — two (Conner and Jarman) are making their Nashville Opera debuts. Mezzo-soprano Gunlogson will be remembered by Music City operagoers for her expressive performance in 2006’s Iolanthe. The supporting players include five participants in the opera’s Mary Ragland Young Artist Program. William Boggs conducts the Nashville Symphony.