Film/Theatre Review: The Marriage of Figaro, 27 July, Cameo Cinema

29 Jul

The Summer Season at Edinburgh’s Cameo is in full swing, with this week’s performance is Le Nozze di Figaro, or The Marriage of Figaro, recorded in February 2006 by the BBC at Covent Garden and screened on Sunday.

This was a recording of a significant performance, marking as it did the 250th anniversary of W.A Mozart’s birth. The opera is set in four acts and recounts a day in the life of fictional Count Almaviva, married to Rosina yet seeking the affections of Susanna, Rosina’s maid. Susanna is in turn engaged to be married to Figaro, the Count’s valet.

The satirical story follows these main characters, but there are subplots including young page, Cherubino, and his fascination with the Countess. There’s also the old spinster, Marcellina and her accomplice Bartolo: Marcellina has a contract to marry Figaro and Bartolo is intent on making sure he fulfils his obligation. The countess conspires with Susanna to expose her husbands wandering eye as Figaro desperately tries to evade Marcellina, Bartolo and their contract.

Acclaimed Bass-Baritone singer, Erwin Schrott plays the part of the protagonist, Figaro.  As winner of both First and Audience prizes at Placido Domingo’s Operalia Erwin has played many roles of note, including this rendition of Figaro and Don Giovanni.

With soprano Miah Persson, as Susanna and mezzo-soprano Rinat Shaham, as Cherubino adding to the line up, there is no lack of vocal talents and all members perform outstandingly.

Because this was performed in Italian, there was a distinct benefit from having subtitles – with a lack of programme on offer it would otherwise be difficult to determine what was happening through the course of the opera.

Sadly, even in a filled cinema, it was difficult to be absorbed by the atmosphere generated at a live operatic event, the viewer feeling detached from the emotion of the piece. Despite the talent, impressive scene changes and stunning costumes, the removal from a real life opera event makes this a love story with an unhappy ending.

Review by Gillian Jones

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