Seeing “Figaro” again: after Thursday’s performance, more random other thoughts about LA Phil’s latest gem
May 24, 2013 1 Comment
I was so enthralled by the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s production of The Marriage of Figaro that I wanted — needed — to see it again. So last night, I decided to Tivo the King’s playoff game and head back to Walt Disney Concert Hall for another go at it. Turned out to be the right decision: this “Figaro” is still awesome, and the Kings won 3-0. All is yar, indeed . . .
On opening night, I sat in the Orchestra East section, but far enough in front of the stage to still be able to see most of the action. This time around, I sat in one of the “orchestra boat” sections directly facing the stage. The different perspective combined with having seen the production before allowed me to appreciate some different aspects of the performance than I did last Friday night.
Since the extremely positive impressions I expressed in my original review still hold, I’ll focus on things unique to this particular night. In addition, I thought I’d also share various impressions and observations that I noticed before but hadn’t include previously due to time or space constraints. (SPOILER ALERT: some of the specific comedic bits I avoided mentioning originally are discussed in some detail this time.) So, for your reading pleasure, please enjoy . . .
Random Other Thoughts (the long extended dance-remix Figaro edition)
General observations about the cast
- All of these men and women can sing AND act really well. So many little details to appreciate and enjoy in their respective portrayals. All their facial expressions and movement integrated quite nicely into those technically difficult recitatives and aria/duets/trios/etc. Bravissimi!
- Fashion designer Azzedine Alaïa’s first half costume for Malin Christensson (Susanna) looks very ballerina like, right down to the shoes. She does a very nice job posing and moving like a ballerina, too. I’d be rather surprised if she didn’t have some real dance training.
- Speaking of Ms. Christensson: she still had the lightest voice in the cast, but I had a less trouble hearing her this time around. Perhaps it was the difference in my seat placement, perhaps she was singing out more, perhaps it was a combination of both. Regardless of the size of her voice, I still like her singing. Her “Deh vieni” was absolutely lovely. On top of it all, she’s a cutie.
- Edwin Crossley-Mercer (Figaro) and Christopher Maltman (Count) are ideally paired adversaries: both are young and hunky, strong and technically skilled vocalists, and just plain smooth. Their interactions at the end of Acts 1 and 2 are particularly good.
I have a growing crush on Rachel Frenkel (Cherubino). She did such beautiful work on her big arias, “Non so piu” and “Voi che sapete,” to go along with everything else she sang. . . . Okay, I’ll admit, perhaps contributing a little bit is the fact that she’s quite attractive in general, looked really hot in that pink dress, and fondled more women on stage than even Count Almaviva. (To see and hear her in action singing “Non so piu” in a different production, click HERE; BTW, the Susanna is Hélène Guilmette)
- Dorothea Röschmann . . . Wow. Just, wow. She totally kicked ass last Friday night. I don’t remember being that blown away by her in the BluRay we have of the Figaro production with her singing Countess in Salzburg (with Anna Netrebko as Susanna, Ildebrando D’Arcangelo as Figaro, and Bo Skovhus as the Count), so a day or so later, I watched it again; she’s good in it, but not nearly as impressive as she was in person at Disney Hall (though in all fairness, Claus Guth’s leaden stage direction and Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s lethargic tempos don’t do her any favors in Salzburg). Any thoughts that I was just imagining things Friday night disappeared after once again experiencing her star turn Thursday night. It’s tough to imagine the role of Countess being performed any better. Read more of this post