Musica Viva debuts Le Nozze di Figaro at the Hong Kong City Hall
The renowned opera by Mozart set just before the French Revolution will appeal to the audience today with its comedic yet insightful take on social and gender issues.
Muisca Viva, Hong Kong’s own charitable musical organisation, will present Mozart’s masterpiece Le Nozze di Figaro, with 2 performances on September 20 – 21 at the Hong Kong City Hall, sponsored by Chi Wah Foundation Limited. This brand-new production by Prof Lo Kingman will be conducted by Andrew Ling, the principal violist of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.
Le Nozze di Figaro, or The Marriage of Figaro, is a wondrous operatic experience in four acts. It is one of the most performed and watched operas in the world, thanks to Mozart’s enduring appeal, comedic theatricality as well as ever engaging themes of class and gender dynamics.
Musica Viva’s fully staged production of Le Nozze di Figaro will feature brilliant cast, with Sammy Chien in the title role, Phoebe Tam and Charlene Lee as Susanna, Jessica Ng as Countess Rosina, Isaac Droscha as Count Almaviva, Ziqi Shi as Cherubino, Carol Lin as Marcellina. These talented singers, along with Ling, the conductor, and chorus director Leung Siu Kwan, will be bringing the opera’s exuberant music to the audience for an unforgettable evening.
Prof Lo’s direction offers a clear and vivid interpretation which emphasises the subtle humour of the comedic situations in the battle of wits between master and servant as well as the entangled love relationships among the colourful characters of the opera.
The opera was Mozart’s first collaboration with the Italian librettist Lorenzo da Ponte. The story is full of comedy, intrigue, plot twists and romantic tenderness, but the class struggle remains at the forefront. For today’s audience Le Nozze di Figaro has a renewed relevance. An entitled male pursuing relationships other than the purely professional with the women in his employ, which in this case is the Count who looks to reinstitute the feudal droit du seigneur giving him first dibs on a servant girl who is getting married, sounds very similar to the antagonists in the #me too movement.
Mozart lived in a very different time but it is clear from the lyricism of the music that he saw a very human story in Le Nozze di Figaro. The opera opens with the tender, if somewhat suggestive, scene of Figaro (having graduated from factotum to working full-time for the Count) measuring the room he and Susanna have been given for their wedding bed. Susanna is trying to get him to pay attention to the cap she has made for herself. The opera is full of simple domestic interludes like this.
It is evident that Da Ponte and Mozart had fun with both language and music. While they seemed to be leaving the Baroque behind, Figaro is an incarnation of Harlequin, the shrewd servant who puts one over on his master, while Susanna is the sweet young thing who is not as innocent as she appears. However, in the hands of the two masters, these stock representations became fully-fledged characters capable of affection, anger, anxiety and hope.
Le Nozze di Figaro
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte
Conductor: Andrew Ling
Producer & Director: Lo Kingman
Assistant Conductor: Ming Kwong
Executive Producer & Choral Director: Leung Siu Kwan