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Victor Gluck
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Figaro! (90210)
This was contributed by: Glenna Freedman
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¡Figaro! (90210 )

After a sold-out premiere in November 2012 at Dixon Place, Figaro! (90210) returns for a limited run between June 11 and 16, 2013. Morningside Opera will present the show in concert performances at The NSD Theater (151 Bank Street, west of Hudson) in the West Village.
The debate over immigration reform takes center stage in this multi-cultural adaptation of Mozart’s opera “The Marriage of Figaro” set in present-day Los Angeles. Figaro! (90210) also makes the opera more accessible to contemporary audiences by distilling the action of the show to two and a half hours, including a fifteen minute intermission.
Figaro! (90210) showcases Mozart’s celebrated music from The Marriage of Figaro note-for-note, but with an entirely new English (and Spanglish) libretto by writer Vid Guerrerio, that recasts the opera’s title character as an undocumented worker on a Beverly Hills estate.
The cast is composed of opera and musical theater performers, whose multi-cultural backgrounds reflect the broad diversity of today’s America. They will be accompanied onstage by a live 5- string ensemble under the direction of pianist and music director Raphael Fusco, who has been acclaimed by the New York Times as “accomplished and winning”, and directed by Melissa Crespo, an emerging Latina director whose work has been seen at Arena Stage and Second Stage Theater.
Among the cast of 14, Mexican bass-baritone Carlos Monzón, whose Leporello was praised by the San Francisco Chronicle as “dashing and comically assured” will perform the title role opposite Colombian-American soprano Sophia Benedetti as Susana. In the role of Paul Conti will be Robert Balonek, whom Opera News said possesses “a commanding, steely baritone and a direct, crystal-clear delivery,” while his wife Roxanne will be performed by Donata Cucionotta, who has performed at Avery Fisher Hall, Opera Colorado and Knoxville Opera, where she the Knoxville MetroPulse noted her “bright and lively comedy.”
Explaining the company’s decision to revive Figaro! (90210) after last November’s successful debut at Dixon Place, Morningside Opera Artistic Director Annie Holt says, “Figaro! (90210) is an exciting update of an iconic work that really connected with our audiences at its premiere. The work aligns strongly with our mission to build new audiences for opera, by allowing theatergoers of all backgrounds to experience what has been called the most perfect opera ever written in a contemporary theatrical context that is as funny and relevant today as the original was when it first premiered.”
“Nowadays, The Marriage of Figaro is such a part of the cultural landscape that it’s easy to forget just how fresh, and even dangerous, the opera and play were when they premiered,” writes librettist Guerrerio. “Placing the action against the backdrop of today’s immigration debates provides a fresh context for the piece, but also highlights the brilliance of the original authors, who responded to a period of tremendous social change by creating a work so warm, so wise and so wonderfully funny that it still speaks directly to the challenges we face more than two centuries later.”
The NSD Theater is located at The New School for Drama. Performances will run June 11, 12, 14 and 15 at 8:00PM and Sunday, June 16 at 3:00PM. More information and ticketing can be found at . All tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the door and $25 for students and seniors.
About Morningside Opera
Hailed for its “bold imagination and musical diligence” by the New York Times, Morningside Opera’s mission is to challenge the boundaries and conventions of the genre, and to spark dialogue about opera between new and traditional audiences. Now in its fifth season, the company is committed to inventive and accessible performances of operas old, new, and somewhere in between. Unique among small opera companies in the region, Morningside Opera has a strong scholarly focus, creating educational programs and workshops that feature leading scholars and practitioners
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