Marriage of Figaro performs and delights at the Lewis Auditorium. Applause, standing applause and the cries of Bravo! where some of the accolades from this audience watching this wonderful opera by Mozart that premiered at the Burgtheater in Vienna on 1 May 1786. The direction of Curt Tucker was once again flawless. First Coast Opera out performed itself with this lovely piece of song, music and theatre.
We caught First Coast Opera in its lasts rehearsals at Flagler Lewis Auditorium, getting ready for the two shows coming this weekend of Jan. 5/730pm & 6/200pm. Call 904-417-5555 for tickets or go to www.firstcoastopera.com.
The Marriage of Figaro / SYNOPSIS
The story is set in Spain. Figaro is jealous of the Count for his gallantry to Susanna, his betrothed. The Count, sensing that the page, Cherubino, is interested in the Countess, seeks to get rid of Cherubino by ordering him off to the wars. He is saved by Susanna, who disguises him in female attire.
The Countess, Susanna, Figaro and Cherubino conspire to punish the Count for his infidelity. The latter suddenly appears at his wife’s door. Finding it locked, he demands an entrance. Cherubino, alarmed, hides himself in a closet and bars the door. When the Count goes after a crowbar to break in the door, Cherubino leaps out of the window, while Susanna takes his place. Antonio, the gardener, comes in, furious that some one has just thrown a man into his flower pots. Figaro at once asserts that it was he who jumped. A ludicrous side plot unfolds as Marcellina appears with a contract of marriage signed by Figaro, bringing Bartolo as a witness. Don Curzio declares the contract valid. Figaro stalls by protesting that he can’t marry her because he’s actually a nobleman, stolen from his parents at birth. He displays a distinctive birthmark on his arm. Marcellina recognizes the mark, and nearly faints. It turns out that Figaro is her and Bartolo’s long-lost illegitimate son. Figaro is off the hook and he and Susanna are free to be married at last. Bartolo and Marcellina decide to make it a double wedding.
Acts Three and Four
That night, in the garden, the servant girl, Barbarina, is searching for something in the dark. Though she’s barely a teenager, she has already been the object of the Count’s attentions. Now she’s acting as a courier between the Count and her older cousin Susanna, who has just been married. Figaro is convinced Susanna is plotting to betray him, especially when he hears her nearby, singing about her “lover” — though she’s really singing about Figaro. Things come to a head when the Count finally shows up, eager for his tryst. First he tries to seduce his wife, thinking she’s Susanna. Then, when he sees Figaro with a woman he thinks is the Countess, he self-righteously accuses her of infidelity. Susanna, still imitating the Countess, begs the Count for forgiveness. He refuses. At that, the Countess reveals herself, and the Count realizes he is trapped. Humbled and repentant, it’s his turn to ask for pardon. The Countess generously embraces him, and the opera ends with both couples reconciled.
First Coast.TV visited First Coast Opera during their rehearsal of The Marriage of Figaro. We got the chance to speak to artistic director Curt Tucker to give us the scoop on this event.
The Marriage of Figaro will perform January 5-6, 2019 at Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College on14 Granada Street, St. Augustine, FL
First Coast Opera presented “The Stranger’s Tale” and “I Pagliacci”, two operas interwoven into one production, at Lewis Auditorium on Saturday, February 10, at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, February 11, at 2:00 p.m.
First Coast Opera Artistic Director Curtis Tucker is the author of The Stranger’s Tale, which tells the story of a single day in New York City’s Central Park and serves as the first act of the paired opera. A single storyline connected the action between this tale and Ruggero Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci, which makes up the second act.
The Stranger’s Tale begins with a homeless man (Lou Agresta) sleeping on a park bench and recounts his interactions with other people in the park. In the second act, Canio’s Clown Show (the troupe from I Pagliacci) arrives. Songs and characters are intertwined between the two parallel storylines. The Stranger’s Tale is sung in English, while I Pagliacci is sung in the original Italian.
Cast members included Elena Galván, Jamison Walker, Daniel Bates, Sarah Beckham-Turner, Sean Christopher Stork, Gregory Gerbrandt, Daniel Bates, and Dirk Gavin McCoy. First Coast Opera Artistic Director Curtis Tucker serves as the conductor and stage director, and an orchestra of 19 musicians accompanied this production.
First Coast Opera performed a show on the week of Halloween titled “Opera’s Most Haunting Melodies”. Performed in front of a packed house at the Mark Lance Armory on San Marco Ave, St Augustine, FL.
The show was opera at its best with a sprinkle of of spooky Halloween and comedy.
First Coast Opera performed two courtroom satires, directed by Nelson Sheeley, who staged last season’s La Vie Parisienne, are sure to leave you smiling. Gilbert and Sullivan’s popular one-act comedy is paired with the Florida Premiere of Curtis Tucker’s new family opera putting the Big Bad Wolf on trial for his well-known mischief. Sung in English and intended for children and adults of all ages. Performed at the Ancient City Baptist Church on March 16th and 18th.
Puccini’s tragic cross-cultural love story Madama Butterfly remains one of the world’s most popular operas, and St Augustine was blessed to see an incredible production of this opera. You found yourself transported to early 20th-century Japan through this production fully-staged with orchestra at Flagler College’s Lewis Auditorium by Helena Binder and conducted by Keith Chambers. Sung in Italian with projected English subtitles.
On Friday, October 28th, First Coast Opera explored the brief, shining career of iconic American tenor and heartthrob, Mario Lanza (1921-1959). A packed house heard live performances of selections from his films The Student Prince, The Toast of New Orleans, The Great Caruso, and others in the unique “swimming pool” of The Lightner Museum in downtown Saint Augustine. The singers accompanied by a 1910 Steinway grand piano were absolutely at their best, evident by the thundering applause of the audience.
One of the most popular of his operettas, La Vie Parisienne was written in 1866 and is Offenbach’s first full-length piece that seeks to portray contemporary Parisian life. First Coast Opera Artistic Director Curtis Tucker conducted a 15-piece orchestra. The cast featured local and regional artists, including Regina Torres, Kirsten Yates, Matheus Coura, Haley Cox, and Sean Stork. The operetta was received with great applause as the cast filled the theatre with great excitement and fun. It was true perfection, as the First Coast Opera keeps raising the bar, and while doing so thrilling the audiences with beauty and class. Thank you, thank you……Thank You!