If you loved “The Barber of Seville” when it was performed during the 2018 Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre season — and who didn’t? — you should make a beeline for the current production of “The Marriage of Figaro.” It’s another great comic opera with the same hilarious characters, equally beautiful music, thrilling performances and gorgeous costuming.
So what’s not to love?
The plot of “Figaro” has too many twists and turns to explain briefly; or even at length, for that matter. But this classic by composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart has all the traditional gags we’ve come to associate with comic opera. There’s attempted seduction, adultery, jealousy, mistaken identify, a little cross-dressing and that most rare of operatic elements: A happy ending. It’s a feel-good experience that can melt the heart of even the most confirmed opera-hater (like my wife).
Director Suzan Hanson gets marvelous performances from her entire cast, especially Rose-Antoinette Bellino and Bridgette Gan. Both women are impressive vocalists and their superb acting skills are just frosting on the cake.
Bellino is perfectly flirtatious and saucy as Susanna, the mischievous maid who is always very much one step ahead of her fiancé, Figaro, and the amorous Count Almaviva.
As Rosina the Countess Almaviva, Gan nicely balances what could have been contradictory roles as a tragically estranged spouse with that of a playfully amused object of a juvenile suitor’s affections.
Although virtually unrecognizable in drag, Marianthi Hatzis is equally memorable in a gender-bending role as the love-struck page, Cherubino.
As baritones typically do, the male cast members of “Figaro” deliver solid performances.
Christopher Holmes convincingly portrays the scheming Count, an aristocrat who thinks he’s seductive but isn’t fooling anyone but himself.
As Figaro, Brandon Hendrickson makes the most of what is a surprisingly small role given the opera’s title.
The only returning cast member from “The Barber of Seville,” UFOMT veteran Kevin Nakatani, is amusing as Don Bartolo, a meddling physician who arrives intending to give away a bride and ends up marrying her instead.
Additional performances of “Figaro” are slated at the Ellen Eccles Theatre in downtown Logan through Aug. 2. For ticket information, visit utahfestival.org.