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Music School Stages 'Marriage of Figaro'

Marriage of Figaro promo
Performers Cady Lewis and Joseph Caskey in "Marriage of Figaro"

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s comic masterpiece “The Marriage of Figaro,” recently voted the world’s greatest comic opera, will be performed in Oklahoma City University’s historic Kirkpatrick Auditorium Nov. 17-19.

Performances are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with a 3 p.m. Sunday matinee at the Bass School of Music, NW 25th Street and Blackwelder Avenue. Miller will present a free director’s talk 45 minutes before each show.

Tickets ($14-28) are available online at okcu.edu/tickets or by calling (405) 208-5227.

“The Marriage of Figaro” will be presented by a cast of 31 OCU singers under the direction of Karen Coe Miller, and a full 32-piece opera orchestra under the baton of Jan McDaniel. The work will be performed in Italian, with English translations projected above the stage.

Written in six weeks in 1786, “The Marriage of Figaro” topped this year’s BBC opera singers’ poll of best-ever operas.

“No matter how many times I sing this opera I am always completely stunned how little people have changed since Mozart’s time, in terms of relationships and the maneuvering they do,” acclaimed soprano Renée Fleming said.

Picking up several years after Figaro's adventures in “The Barber of Seville,” Mozart’s operatic sequel is a lyric comedy of misplaced identities, misbegotten plans and general misbehaving.

The third-act duet between the countess and her maid, "Sull'aria...che soave zeffiretto,” became part of popular culture when it was featured in the 1994 movie “The Shawshank Redemption,” in which a character reflected: “I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing …I’d like to think they were singing about something so beautiful it can't be expressed in words and makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you those voices soared higher and farther than anybody in a gray place dares to dream.”

Oklahoma City University’s 66th season of operas and musicals continues with the world premiere of Thomas Pasatieri’s American opera “The Vaudevillian” Feb. 16-18; followed by Bedric Smetana’s “The Bartered Bride” March 2-4; and “On the Town,” with music by Leonard Bernstein and book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green.

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