PERFECT MUSIC.
IMPERFECT HUMANS.

In 1786, Mozart revolutionized opera. Taking Beaumarchais’ play about servants and nobility – so incendiary that it was banned in Vienna – Mozart composed an opera that is both funny and moving, creating a sublime masterpiece.

The opera takes place on one day, and tells of Susanna and Figaro’s maneuvering to get married as they plot around the Count with the help of the Countess and several people with their own agendas. Music elevates every moment, and the flaws of humanity give way to the beauty of compassion.

One of the greatest operas ever written, Figaro is ever-young, ever-wise, and ever-transcendent.

The Marriage of Figaro

Friday, April 28, 2023 at 8 pm
Sunday, April 30, 2023 at 2:30 pm
Overture Hall
Sung in Italian with projected English translations

approx. run time: 3 hours, with 1 intermission

The Marriage of Figaro

Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte

Premiered 1 May 1786
Burgtheater, Vienna, Austria

Previously at MO: 1962, 1972, 1989, 1999, 2010

Act I
In a room they have been allocated, Figaro and Susanna, servants to Count and Countess Almaviva, are preparing for their wedding. Susanna is concerned that the room is too close to the Count’s chamber and explains to Figaro that Almaviva is pursuing her. Figaro vows to thwart the Count’s plans. Once Figaro leaves, Dr. Bartolo and Marcellina enter. Marcellina is determined to marry Figaro, while Bartolo is angry at him for making a fool of him in the past. When Susanna returns, she and Marcellina are sarcastically polite to each other.

The page Cherubino enters, seeking advice from Susanna, as Count Almaviva caught him alone with the gardener’s daughter. Almaviva arrives, and Cherubino hides. The Count attempts to seduce Susanna, but is himself forced to hide when yet another person arrives. It’s the music teacher Don Basilio, who mentions Cherubino’s crush on the Countess. In a rage, the Count reveals himself to an amused Basilio. He becomes even more enraged when he discovers Cherubino and realizes that the boy has overheard him propositioning Susanna.

Figaro returns, accompanied by the entire household, who praise the Count. Put on the spot, the Count is forced to bless the marriage of Figaro and Susanna. To get rid of Cherubino, he gives the boy a military commission, telling him to report for duty immediately. Figaro and Susanna commiserate with Cherubino.

Act II
In her bedroom, Countess Almaviva mourns the loss of her husband’s love. Susanna tells the Countess that she and Figaro have a plan: Almaviva will receive an anonymous letter informing him that his wife has taken a lover. At the same time, Susanna will set up a rendezvous with Almaviva, but will send a disguised Cherubino in her place.

Cherubino enters with a song of love for the Countess and a commission letter that the Count forgot to seal. He is taken aback when the women begin to dress him in women’s clothes. After Susanna steps into an adjoining room, the Count knocks on the locked bedroom door. Cherubino hides in the dressing room while the Countess lets in her husband.  Almaviva is instantly suspicious and demands entry into the locked dressing room, but the Countess refuses to open it, claiming Susanna is inside trying on her wedding dress. Almaviva leaves the room to get a crowbar, taking the Countess with him. Susanna helps Cherubino escape through the window before taking his place in the dressing room. The Count and Countess return, and the Countess confesses everything to her husband. She is shocked when Susanna exits the locked dressing room. Almaviva begs forgiveness for his suspicions.

Figaro arrives to gather everyone for the wedding. He is followed by the gardener Antonio, who is upset that someone jumped from the Countess’s balcony and crushed his flowers. With prompting from the women, Figaro claims it was he who jumped. The gardener shows him Cherubino’s dropped commission, which Figaro claims he was holding to get the Count’s seal. Marcellina, Bartolo and Basilio enter, and Almaviva is delighted to hear their claim that Figaro is obliged to marry Marcellina to pay off an outstanding debt.

Act III
Later that day, Susanna approaches Count Almaviva. He once again asks her to meet him in the garden, and she agrees. He is overjoyed, but becomes enraged when he overhears Susanna conspiring with Figaro. Marcellina, accompanied by the lawyer Don Curzio, demands that Figaro pay his debt or marry her. Figaro replies that he can’t marry without the consent of his parents, for whom he’s been search for years, having been abducted as a baby. When he reveals a birthmark on his arm, Marcellina and Bartolo recognize the mark as belonging to their son, and the three joyfully reunite. Figaro embraces his long-lost mother as Susanna enters. She misunderstands the embrace and rages at Figaro. Marcellina explains the situation, and everyone is happy except the Count.

The Countess dictates a letter from Susanna to the Count, confirming their meeting that evening in the garden. Cherubino, now dressed as a girl, appears with Barbarina, daughter of Antonio. The Count and Antonio arrive, and Antonio reveals Cherubino’s disguise. Barbarina persuades the Count to let her marry Cherubino. The household assembles for Figaro and Susanna’s wedding. During the dancing, Susanna slips the Count her letter.

Act IV
In the garden later that night, Barbarina despairs that she has lost the pin the Count has asked her to take back to Susanna. When Figaro and Marcellina appear, Barbarina tells them about the pin. Thinking that Susanna is unfaithful, Figaro curses all women. He hides when Susanna and the Countess arrive, each dressed as the other.  Alone, Susanna sings of love, knowing that Figaro is listening to her. She then hides in time to see Cherubino try to kiss the disguised Countess. The Count declares his love for Susanna, who is really the Countess, while Figaro tells the Countess, who is really Susanna, about the tryst. Susanna forgets to disguise her voice, and Figaro figures out it is she under the Countess’s cloak. Susanna and Figaro embrace and are seen by the Count, who explodes with rage. At that moment, the real Countess steps forward and reveals her identity. Ashamed, the Count asks her pardon. She forgives him, and the entire household celebrates the day’s happy ending.

Cast

Habersham, Jasmine 2022
Jasmine Habersham
Susanna

Madison Opera Debut: Digital Opera in the Park 2020
MO Stage Debut: Eurydice, Orpheus in the Underworld

Recently: Gilda, Rigoletto (Opera North-UK); Zerlina, Don Giovanni (Seattle Opera); Cleopatra, Giulio Cesare; Micaela, Carmen; Girl, Der Kaiser von Atlantis (Atlanta Opera); Adina, The Elixir of Love (Phoenicia International Festival of Voice); Katie Jackson, The Fix (Minnesota Opera); Pip, Moby Dick (Opera San Jose, Utah Opera)
Upcoming: Sophie, Werther (Houston Grand Opera); Gilda, Rigoletto (Utah Opera); Mimi, Tenor Overboard; Mary, Holy Ground (Glimmerglass Festival); Sarah Ruth, Edward Tulane (Minnesota Opera)

Caballero, Elizabeth
Elizabeth Caballero
Countess Almaviva

Madison Opera Debut: Opera in the Park 2007
Recently at MO: Florencia, Florencia en el Amazonas; Donna Anna, Don Giovanni; Violetta, La Traviata; Micaela, Carmen

Recently:
Blanche, A Streetcar Named Desire (Florida Grand Opera); Cio-Cio-San, Madama Butterfly (Oper Stuttgart); Mimì, La Bohème (Oper Stuttgart, Seiji Ozawa Music Academy); Cecilia Valdes, Cecilia Valdes (Teatro de la Zarzuela, Madrid); Donna Elvira, Don Giovanni (Florida Grand Opera); Amelia, Un Ballo in Maschera (Stadttheater Klagenfurt)

Boehler_Matt
Matt Boehler
Figaro

Madison Opera Debut: Opera in the Park 2012
Recently at MO: Osmin, The Abduction from the Seraglio; Rocco, Fidelio; Leporello, Don Giovanni 

Recently: Sparafucile, Rigoletto (Florida Grand Opera); Ob, Becoming Santa Claus (Chicago Opera Theater); Van Helsing, The Lord of Cries (Santa Fe Opera)

4x5Adams-Michael
Michael Adams
Count Almaviva

Madison Opera Debut

Recently:
Sharpless, Madama Butterfly (Dallas Opera); Count Almaviva, The Marriage of Figaro (Austin Opera); The Count / The Herald, Der Schatzgräber (Deutsche Oper Berlin); Figaro, The Barber of Seville (Utah Opera); Belcore, The Elixir of Love (Seattle Opera)

LArson_Kirsten
Kirsten Lippart
Cherubino

Madison Opera Debut: Lola, Cavalleria Rusticana (2018)
Recently at MO: Venus, Orpheus in the Underworld; Digital 20/21 Season; Flora, La Traviata; Mrs. Segstrom, A Little Night Music; 3rd Wood Sprite, Rusalka

Recently: Alto Soloist, Messiah (Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra); Sarah, Sarah Bernhardt (Stoughton Chamber Music Festival); Johanna, Sweeney Todd (Middleton Players Theatre); Prince Orlofsky, Die Fledermaus (Madison Savoyards)

4x5Gawrysiak-Margarett-scaled
Margaret Gawrysiak
Marcellina

Madison Opera Debut

Recently:
Madame Larina, Eugene Onegin (Seattle Opera, Atlanta Opera); Older Woman, Flight (Seattle Opera); Marcellina, The Marriage of Figaro (Opera Colorado); Old Lady, Candide (Ravinia Festival)

Sieverding_Benjamin
Benjamin Sieverding
Dr. Bartolo

Madison Opera Debut: Duke of Verona, Romeo and Juliet (2016)
Recently at MO: Dr. Grenvil, La Traviata

Recently: Mr. Noble, The Montana Mikado (Intermountain Bozeman); Betto, Gianni Schicchi (Tulsa Opera); Zungia, Carmen (Mill City Summer Opera); Don Alfonso, Così fan tutte (Glacier Symphony, Opera in the Heights); The Armchair, L’Enfant et les Sortilèges (Pacific Symphony); Alfred Austin, The Fix; Warden Benton, Dead Man Walking; Colline, La Bohème; Max Cane, Dinner at Eight (Minnesota Opera); Sarastro, The Magic Flute (Lake Area Music Festival)

Rhodes-Russel_Stephanie_web
Stephanie Rhodes-Russell
Conductor

Madison Opera Debut: Opera in the Park 2021

Recently:
La Traviata (Opera Orlando); Dr. Miracle (Dallas Opera); The Turn of the Screw (Temple University); Excerpts from Eugene Onegin (Wolf Trap Opera)
Upcoming: Susannah (Wolf Trap Opera); The Barber of Seville (Austin Opera); The Daughter of the Regiment (Utah Opera)

Rigazzi_Dan
Dan Rigazzi
Stage Director

Madison Opera Debut: The Magic Flute (2017)

Recently:
The Magic Flute (Pittsburgh Opera); Baseball: A Musical Love Letter (Lyric Opera of Kansas City); La Cenerentola (Metropolitan Opera); Roméo et Juliette (Teatro alla Scala)

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