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Mozart is, beyond a doubt, one of the most popular composers in history.
Based upon the frequency with which The Santa Fe Opera stages The Marriage of Figaro, it would seem that audiences in Santa Fe agree.
This year marks the seventeenth time this particular opera has been staged, which is more than any other Mozart opera. This poses a particular challenge for everyone involved: Preserve the opera’s integrity while making it memorable. The opening night’s performance, judging by the audience’s reaction, lived up to that challenge.
To start, the stage is set up as a field of flowers, and its simplicity is beautiful. As the opera progresses to the second and third acts, the staging feels slightly cramped and a little static. This is only temporary, as the backdrop and staging in the fourth act are just right and set off the ending music perfectly.
The orchestra is the star of the night. From the first notes of the overture to the very end of the opera, there is not a misstep in the pit, or at least nothing apparent to the audience. The conductor, John Nelson, has a very distinctive style, and it brings out lovely contrasting dynamics and full tones.
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