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Opera comes to Notre Dame and sells out

Claire Stephens | Friday, April 15, 2011

A tale of two lovers both sought by others but only craving each other has made its way to the Decio Mainstage. Opera Notre Dame’s production of “Le Nozze di Figaro” (“The Marriage of Figaro”) took audiences by storm last night when it opened to a full house in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

Figaro (Zach Angus/Dan Crupi) tries to marry his love Susanna (Bridget Mullins/Lindsay Schwartz), despite the opposition of other suitors. The powerful Count Almaviva (Stephen Lancaster) chases Susanna, old Marcellina (Paulette Curtis/Lauren Desrosiers) chases Figaro and the teenage Cherubino (Jessica Gorski/Lina Delmastro) chases any and every girl. In the end, however, true love conquers all.

Director Mark Beudert said this year’s production took a lot of planning but consisted of less time than usual on the actual stage.

“It is much more elaborate… and we had a very short time in the theater — just three rehearsal days before opening night,” Beudert said.

 The cast consists of mostly Notre Dame undergraduates, with some faculty, staff and Saint Mary’s students on board.

“[It’s amazing that a] college would dare to attempt one of the most difficult works in the repertoire, almost complete, in the original, with undergraduates,” Beudert said. “I am proud to say that the performance experience will be very satisfying for each of our four sold-out houses.”

Sam Osborn, who plays Barbarina in the Thursday and Sunday casts, said he enrolled in an opera workshop this fall and a production this spring to prepare for the role.

“My responsibilities as a performer have included weekly rehearsals, a paper, translating every word of Italian, learning all of the Italian pronunciation, learning the music and staging,” Osborn said.

Senior Margartet Jumonville, who plays the Countess, said “Le Nozze” is one of her favorite operas and getting the chance to act as the Countess was an exciting learning experience.

“I’ve definitely put so much of myself in this role, and, over the course of this year, the Countess has taught me more than I could have imagined,” she said.

Crupi sought to make the play relevant to the student body by pointing out themes young adults can relate to.

“Mozart and Da Ponte aren’t around to adapt the text to the present day — we have to make it relatable,” Crupi says. “But I think that the casts have been doing a remarkable job in making it an accessible show … the show is about love, lust, betrayal, jealousy and ultimately, forgiveness — and I think everyone is doing a wonderful job in making this an accessible, entertaining and fun production.”

 Senior Kate Mullaney has worked hard to make this production its best and appreciates getting the opportunity to sing “Le Nozze.”

 “I’m so glad it’s happening my senior year — so many of us are seniors, and it really feels like a fitting culmination of everything we’ve done in the voice program for four years,” she said. “Since I’m not pursuing voice, this is a last hurrah for me, and it couldn’t be more fitting or special.”

The Decio Mainstage Theater, which holds 360, sold out for all four nights of performance by Tuesday afternoon.

The production is conducted by Maestro John Apeitos and stage managed by Terry Dawson. Melissa Bialko manages the costumes. The cast alternates roles between a Thursday/Saturday group and a Friday/Sunday shift. The opera is sung in Italian and projected in English. For more information about the casts, see the Facebook event group, “Opera Notre Dame presents Le Nozze di Figaro.”

What: Opera Notre Dame presents “Le Nozze di Figaro”

Where: Decio Mainstage Theater, DeBartolo Performing Arts Center

When: Thursday, April 14-Sunday, April 17, 7 p.m.

How much: $15 general public, $12 faculty/staff, $12 seniors, $5 students

Learn more: performingarts.nd.edu