Ohio State’s Opera & Lyric Theatre is going back in time this week with its premiere of “The Marriage of Figaro,” an opera composed by Wolfgang Mozart in 1786.
Based on a play that was banned in France for its revolutionary message and plot, “The Marriage of Figaro” was the attempt of Mozart and his Italian librettist, Lorenzo Da Ponte, to retaliate against political censorship and continue the revolution, A. Scott Parry, director of the piece, said.
“The Marriage of Figaro” is a comedy that shows the relationship between the upper and lower classes. The opera follows Figaro and Susanna, two young servants who want to get married, but struggle because of their different societal statuses.
The opera is performed in Italian with English supertitles, accompanied by music from the Ohio State Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ching-Chun Lai, a visiting professor and interim orchestra conductor for the School of Music.
“You have this really iconoclastic character and story, but it’s kept in this beautiful music,” Parry said.
Parry said the opera’s relevancy and message is one of his favorite aspects of the piece. Despite being written almost 250 years ago, the play still offers a similar situation, Parry said, with “this idea of a male patriarchy that is like a top-down approach to our political society.”
“We’re allowing this piece that’s so old to be able to speak to a modern audience in a way that can have lasting and important impacts on all of us,” Parry said.
Though Parry has directed this piece many times before, he said he is eager for a new audience to experience the opera.
“It has this wonderful message of equality that I just can’t wait for the public and this university to be able to have given to them in such a beautiful, artistic way,” Parry said.
Jacob Heacock, a second-year in music performance on the voice track, plays Figaro in the show. Heacock said this will be his first time performing in an opera or a mainstage production.
Heacock said taking on the role led him to learn alongside the characters and grow as a person.
“Going into it, I think my perspective on things wasn’t exactly the same as it is now,” Heacock said.
Kimberly Monzon, a third-year graduate student in musical arts, plays Susanna, a role she said is known for its length on stage in the opera community.
“I’m on stage 85 percent of the time, so I feel that it’s been a fun accomplishment to achieve the longest role in all [of] opera and to feel confident doing it,” Monzon said.
Monzon said she appreciates about Mozart’s ability to portray the emotions in the piece, such as love, jealousy, anger, pride and joy.
“Mozart could take the most complex and complicated human relationships and spell it out so plainly and clearly, using the most basic of human emotions that we all feel,” Monzon said.
“The Marriage of Figaro” will show at 8 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Sunday in the Wexner Center’s Mershon Auditorium. Tickets cost $10 for children, students, senior citizens, faculty and alumni, and $20 for the general public.