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Classical Notes

Figaro Figaro Figaro

Posted at 4:57 PM on May 11, 2007 by Rex Levang

Remarkably enough, the Twin Cities can currently boast two different—very different—productions of Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro." One is a fairly traditional staging by the Minnesota Opera. The other is by Theatre de la Jeune Lune, and in typical Jeune Lune fashion, it's a pretty freewheeling adaptation. In fact, they call it simply "Figaro," as if to signal the original theatrical work that's gone into creating it.

Sounds like a case of operatic purists on the one hand, and avantgardists on the other.

Well, not exactly. Which production has a man playing a woman's role? Jeune Lune, right? No, actually that would be Minnesota Opera. (More on countertenor Cortez Mitchell here.)

Likewise, scholars have long recognized that "Figaro" served as something of a model for Mozart's next opera, "Don Giovanni." Which company makes the most of this musicological point? Minnesota Opera, right? Actually that would be Jeune Lune, whose "Figaro" cast also appears in their "Don Juan Giovanni," in the same way that Mozart's singers did. Well, roughly.

Compare and contrast, as they say. For that matter, this doesn't exhaust the Figaro activity in the area. Did anyone see last weekend's production in Fargo? Or for that matter, the Kabuki-flavored production last fall at the U of M? Has anyone seen them all?