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 30, 2021 at 8 PM
Sunday, May 2, 2021 at 2:30 PM
Overture Hall

Sung in Italian with projected English translations

Single tickets on sale in September 2020

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.

Cherubino, a young page, enters, seeking advice from Susanna. Count Almaviva caught him alone with the gardener’s daughter, Barbarina, and he is now to be sent away. Before Susanna can offer advice, they are interrupted by the arrival of Almaviva himself. Cherubino hides while Almaviva attempts to set up a tryst with Susanna. The Count himself is forced to hide when yet another voice is heard at the door. It’s Don Basilio, the music teacher, who references Cherubino’s supposed 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.

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, and is taken aback when the women begin to dress him in women’s clothes. After Susanna sets into an adjoining room, the Count knocks on the locked door. Cherubino hides in the dressing room while the Countess lets her husband in. Noticing the Countess’s agitation, Almaviva is instantly suspicious. He jealously demands entry into the locked dressing room, but the Countess refuses to open it, claiming Susanna is inside trying on her wedding dress. Almaviva, taking the Countess with him, leaves the room to get a crowbar. After they leave, Susanna helps Cherubino escape through the window before taking his place in the dressing room. Unaware of the switch, the Countess confesses everything to her husband upon their return. She is shocked when Susanna exits the locked room. Almaviva begs forgiveness for his suspicions.

Figaro arrives to gather up the group for the wedding. He is followed by Antonio, the gardener, who is upset that someone jumping from the Countess’s balcony has crushed his flowers. Upon 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 it to get the Count’s seal. Marcellina, Bartolo and Basilio enter, and Almaviva, still suspicious, hears 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 then overhears Susanna conspiring with Figaro. He is furious at the deception. Marcellina, accompanied by a 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 arrives. 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

4x5Habersham-Jasmine
Jasmine Habersham
Susanna

Madison Opera Debut:  Opera in the Park (2020)
Recently: Katie Jackson, The Fix (Minnesota Opera); Calavera 2, Frida (Atlanta Opera); Adina, The Elixir of Love (Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice); Pip, Moby Dick (Opera San Jose, Utah Opera); Clara, Porgy and Bess (Baltimore Symphony)
Upcoming: Zerlina, Don Giovanni (Seattle Opera)

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Elizabeth Caballero
Countess Almaviva

Madison Opera Debut: Opera in the Park (2007)
Recently at MO: Florencia Grimaldi, Florencia en el Amazonas; Donna Anna, Don Giovanni; Violetta, La Traviata; Micaela, Carmen
Recently: Mimì, La Bohème (Staatsoper Stuttgart, Austin Opera); Cecilia Valdés, Cecilia Valdés (Teatro de la Zarzuela); Donna Elvira, Don Giovanni (Florida Grand Opera); Cio-Cio San, Madama Butterfly (Nashville Opera, Inland Northwest Opera); Desdemona, Otello (Opera de Bellas Artes)

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: Osmin, The Abduction from the Seraglio (Lyric Opera of Kansas City); Sarastro, The Magic Flute (Utah Opera, Canadian Opera Company); Trader, Nero and the Fall of Lehman Brothers (Ballet-Opera-Pantomime); Jesus, St. Matthew Passion (Cornell University); Sparafucile, Rigoletto (Minnesota Opera)
Upcoming: Uncle, Elizabeth Cree (West Edge Opera); Van Helsing, The Lord of Cries (Santa Fe Opera)

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Michael Adams
Count Almaviva

Madison Opera Debut
Recently: Eugene Onegin, Eugene Onegin (Seattle Opera); Papageno, The Magic Flute (Washington National Opera); Edwin Cheney, Shining Brow (Arizona Opera); Gaylord Ravenal, Show Boat (Glimmerglass Festival); Zurga, The Pearl Fishers (Gran Theatre del Liceu); Enrico, Lucia di Lammermoor (Knoxville Opera)
Upcoming: Count Almaviva, The Marriage of Figaro (Opera Omaha); Maximilian, Candide (Grand-Théâre de Genève)

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Kirsten Larson
Cherubino

Former Madison Opera Studio Artist
Madison Opera Debut: 
Lola, Cavalleria Rusticana (2018)
Recently at MO: Flora, La Traviata; Mrs. Segstrom, A Little Night Music; 3rd Wood Sprite, Rusalka
Recently: 
Babette, Beauty and the Beast; Johanna, Sweeney Todd; Carrie, Carousel (Middleton Players Theatre); Prince Orlofsky, Die Fledermaus (Madison Savoyards); Fox, The Cunning Little Vixen; Baba the Turk, The Rake’s Progress (Louisiana State University)

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Margaret Gawrysiak
Marcellina

Madison Opera Debut
Recently: Madame Larina, Eugene Onegin (Seattle Opera, Atlanta Opera); Marcellina, The Marriage of Figaro (Opera Colorado, Lyric Opera of Kansas City); Old Lady, Candide (Tanglewood); Mrs. Jones, Street Scene (Virginia Opera); Berta, The Barber of Seville (Seattle Opera

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John DeMain
Conductor

Madison Opera Debut: The Magic Flute (1995)
Recently at MO: Opera in the Park 2020, Fellow Travelers, La Traviata, Rusalka
Recently: Blue, Sweeney Todd (Glimmerglass Festival); Candide (Gran Teatre de Liceu); Porgy and Bess (Seattle Opera, Glimmerglass Festival); Lost in the Stars (Washington National Opera)
Upcoming: She Loves Me (Madison Opera)

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Omer Ben Seadia
Stage Director

Madison Opera Debut
Recently: La Clemenza di Tito (Boston University); Cut Glass Bowl (Felicja Blumental Festival); The Barber of Seville; Josephine / After Life (Opera Colorado); Ariadne auf Naxos (Cincinnati Opera); Charlie Parker’s Yardbird (Atlanta Opera)
Upcoming: Tosca (Utah Opera)

Sponsors

The Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation

Millie & Marshall Osborn

Carla & Fernando Alvarado

Lau & Bea Christensen Charitable Foundation

Chun Lin

Patricia & Stephen Lucas

Kato & David Perlman

The Wallach Family

Helen Wineke

The Ann Stanke Fund

David Flanders & Susan Ecroyd

John Lemke & Pamela Oliver

Cyrena & Lee Pondrom

Charles Snowdon & Ann Lindsey