Updating the location of Mozart’s classic comedy to a luxury hotel of the early 20th century did not get in the way of the speeding forward momentum of the plot in the Music Academy’s outstanding production of The Marriage of Figaro. Instead, the spare but opulent interiors served as a splendid fantasy space in which the dark and light elements of the opera had plenty of room to spread out and unfold. When it comes to producing musical ideas that are inspired by the sound of the particular instruments on which they are played, Mozart is unequalled, and in this The Marriage of Figaro is a tour de force.
Lawson Anderson sang a brilliant Figaro, his bass-baritone exuding confidence when called for, and piercing emotions of self-doubt when necessary. Anderson faced a formidable opponent in baritone Benjamin Dickerson’s Count Almaviva. Regal in his bearing whether dressed in black tie or a ladies’ man’s lounging robe, Dickerson’s Almaviva drove the action forward, his threatening tone providing the point of departure for a kaleidoscopic display of vocal colors from the rest of the cast.
With Carlos Cardenas in the roles of Don Basilio and Don Curzio providing the only tenor voice, the piece is necessarily a showcase for the relations among the three sopranos and two mezzos who vie for control of The Marriage of Figaro’s intricate narrative. As Susanna, soprano Adelaide Boedecker delivered a thoroughly convincing performance in support of her vocal pyrotechnics. Soprano Rebecca Farley dug deep into the lovelorn Countess role, and both Anne Marie Stanley, as Marcellina, and Kelsey Lauritano, as Cherubino, brought the colors of the mezzo voice to Mozart’s extraordinary palette of sound. Under the baton of James Conlon, the evening’s four acts flew by in a balanced and spirited flow of continuous creation.