Opera Idahos opening production gave everything you want in a good Marriage of Figaro: gorgeous voices, some clever bits and good acting.
It was clear that this cast just clicked both vocally and in performance and they make the most of Mozarts superlative score.
Director David Coxs production plays less for laughs so no slapstick, door-slamming farce and more for heart-filled, with rich performances and marvelous singing.
Mozarts Figaro is both a sequel and prequel of sorts. He based it on Beaumarchais political comedy in 1786, which was the playwrights sequel to The Barber of Seville. Rossini would later turn Barber into an opera in 1816.
This Day of Madness, the tagline to opera, takes place on Figaro and Susannas wedding day. But there are all kinds of intrigue and plot twists afoot to derail their plans.
Baritone Austin Kness led the way with a great turn as Figaro. His take on the character is less domineering, more manipulative, and sweet when he gets caught in his own trap. Hes definitely a performer to watch.
Susannah Billers feisty Susanna was a great match for Kness. Billers lovely soprano shone throughout, but was never more tender and touching than in her fourth-act love song Deh vieni, non tardar.
Boise-based baritone Jason Detwiler was in rare form as the Count, playing both the cad and penitent man with equal ease. Gretchen Windt was delightful as Cherubino (a male role usually sung by a woman), the lad who lusts after all the women, as was Amanda Gardner-Porter as his Barbarina.
As the trio who try to stop Figaros wedding, Suzanne Hansen (Marcellina), Dennis Rupp (Bartolo) and Dirk Robinson (Basilio) are wonderful to watch. Hansen is beautifully expressive.
But its soprano Diana McVey who gave the production its heart as the Contessa, with a deeply emotional portrait of a woman trying to save her marriage. Her remarkable voice soared on her lament Dove sono making it truly heartbreaking.
Its all brought together by conductor Steven Crawford, who led the orchestra in a performance of the score that struck the perfect balance between the instruments and the voices.
Dana Oland: 377-6442, Twitter: @IDS_DanaOland