« Tower Records -- an idea whose time has gone | Main | ClassicalLounge.com goes online »

A summer night's Figaro

August 21, 2006
McKay (l) and Pérez      photo by Stan Barouh
The Wolf Trap Opera Company put on a lively Figaro this weekend; we caught the Saturday night performance (review today in the Post), and had a great time despite a drowsifying blanket of heat that descended on the Filene Center and refused to budge.  

Not that this was a perfect performance -- the set was truly scruffy, the costumes ranged from so-so to ho-hum (with the exception of Marcellina, who shimmered like a gigantic hummingbird), there were annoying miking problems, a fourth act dance scene was comically inept, and the orchestra (under Ari Pelto's casual baton) was, to put it kindly, a little rough around the edges.

But who cares? This was a late-summer, open-air performance of Figaro, after all, and anyway it's the singing that counts.  And the young vocalists -- especially Maureen McKay as an irresistable Susanna -- all turned in fine performances.

Here's the review:

The Washington Post 8/21/06:   The Wolf Trap Opera Company closed out its 2006 season this weekend with Mozart's great comic opera "The Marriage of Figaro," and it was an inspired choice. Not only does this convoluted story of love and lust have a little something for everybody, but the music is some of the most captivating that Mozart ever wrote -- making it a perfect showcase for the up-and-coming young singers that Wolf Trap presents every summer.

The cast was spearheaded by baritone Ryan McKinny, who delivered an engaging Figaro, and Weston Hurt, who captured the twisting plight of the bumbling predator Count Almaviva with wit and imagination. Mezzo Faith Sherman (in the trouser role of the girl-crazy Cherubino), mezzo Ronnita Nicole Miller (Marcellina) and the rest of the supporting cast all turned in energetic and accomplished performances -- especially admirable given Saturday night's wilting humidity.

But the undisputed star of the show was the young soprano Maureen McKay, playing the willful and wily Susanna. Armed with a silvery, precisely aimed voice, natural stage presence and the kind of beautifully detailed acting you don't see often enough on the operatic stage, McKay turned in a smart, sexy and thoroughly charming performance. The delectably voiced Ailyn Perez, meanwhile, was equally riveting in the darker and more sensual role of the heartsick Countess; when the two sang together, it was honey in the ears.

It must be said, though, that the musical joys of the evening were undermined by a set that looked like it was banged together from old building scraps, given a fresh coat of dirt, and then -- when that looked too appealing -- was littered with department store closeout furniture. Palatial, it wasn't. But the music triumphed nonetheless.

Posted on Monday, August 21, 2006 at 10:19AM by Registered CommenterStephen Brookes | CommentsPost a Comment

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.