By Rhea Alton
For many the Marriage of Figaro is the greatest opera ever written…or so the internet tells me. Mozart wrote it when he was 29 years old, an opera that uses comedy and pathos to highlight aristocratic power – a hot topic on the eve of the French revolution. For me The Marriage of Figaro was my first taste of the mix of comedy and opera and I am not sure that I would count it as my favourite. I very much enjoyed the performance and laughed out loud on numerous occasions (which hardly ever happens during live performances as I am a tough audience member to crack) but when it came to the opera side of things, purely a personal preference, I missed the tragic and heart-wrenching scenes such as I had witnessed in La Traviata. The Swansea City Opera Company paid a visit to Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury on May 25 for one night only and the place was packed. The Marriage of Figaro has a fast paced plot of infidelity and mistaken identity – which the cast manage to portray wonderfully. Sung in English, another opera first for me, it takes place after the events in The Barber of Seville and recounts a single day in the palace of the Count Almaviva in Spain. From the offset the talents of Helen Massey who played Susanna, a maid the Count has designs on despite the fact she is due to marry his valet Figaro, were clear to see. Her comic timing and facial expressions for the audience gave the performance something extra special from the word go. Figaro (Aris Nadirian), Susanna, and the Countess (Elin Pritchard) conspire to embarrass the Count and expose his infidelity. The latter part of the performance takes place at night, when all find themselves on the palace grounds and a comic series of cases of mistaken identity results. Beautifully staged and with a cast that supported each other well, along with live music from a talented band, it was a really enjoyable evening. I found myself entranced by Elin Pritchard’s Act II aria, which was beautifully sung, and I found much pleasure in the comical performances from Martin Quinn as Basilio and Rebecca Goulden as Cherabino. With such a small cast each person needs to be excellent in their role, or roles, and nobody faltered. Top marks must be given for the engagement with the audience and the comic talents of all involved.
J&PR are a Shropshire PR agency covering Shrewsbury, Telford, north Shropshire, south Shropshire and parts of Mid and North Wales. As well as working with businesses, organisations and events across the region on PR campaigns J&PR run regular DIY PR Training Courses and DIY Digital PR Training Courses at venues in the county.