The Marriage of Figaro

In a bit of serendipity, Houston Grand Opera is presenting Mozart’s masterpiece The Marriage of Figaro, just around the corner from the Alley Theatre’s current run of Amadeus, Peter Shaffer’s rococo-like fantasy on famed composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The opera, which is based on the notorious play by Beaumarchais, was banned in its time by Louis XVI, who called it “hateful and unplayable.” Louie’s reaction is understand-able, since the plot features the lower class getting the better of their betters. The librettist, the famed Da Ponte, boasted of a new kind of spectacle, and Mozart gave it all he had. The result is lush, sweeping music such as the Countess’s prayer to love, “Porgi, Amor,” the saucy chambermaid Susanna’s serenade “Vieni, ben mio” and the lovesick Cherubino’s advice to both of them, “Voi che sapete.” It’s revolutionary in its setting of class and privilege, but underneath it all, like all great operas, it’s about the power of love. The stuffy Viennese didn’t get it; it took the Czechs of Prague to turn the opera into an international blockbuster, Mozart’s only big hit during his lifetime. 7:30 p.m. April 17. Through April 30. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For a full schedule, call 713-228-6737 or visit www.houstongrandopera.org. $47 to $294.
Fri., April 15; Sun., April 17; Sat., April 23; Wed., April 27; Sat., April 30, 2011
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D.L. Groover has contributed to countless reputable publications including the Houston Press since 2003. His theater criticism has earned him a national award from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia (AAN) as well as three statewide Lone Star Press Awards for the same. He's co-author of the irreverent appreciation, Skeletons from the Opera Closet (St. Martin's Press), now in its fourth printing.
Contact: D. L. Groover