Monday, April 6, 2009

FIGARO Rehearsal Begins

Erich Kleiber, Vienna Philharmonic (Decca "Legends" 466 369-2)

The frantic scurrying that opens Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro sounds to me like the comings and goings of singers at Seattle Opera these last couple of days, when our Midsummer Night’s Dream cast (except for five of the Young Artists who will be singing next week with the Yakima Symphony) dispersed to every corner of America, while our Marriage of Figaro cast descended upon Seattle from the distant ends of the earth.

I asked Ernesto Alorda, Seattle Opera’s Artists and Community Relations Manager, how his weekend went making sure everybody in the Figaro cast was in town, happy and healthy in time for today’s first rehearsal. “Oh, my God,” said Ernesto, “This was one of the worst!” Ernesto is charged with arranging travel, accomodation, and local transportation for out-of-town artists. He also has to handle visas, work permits, and other paperwork for foreigners. In our Marriage of Figaro, such international singers include bass-baritone Nicolas Cavallier (Figaro), who comes to us for his American debut from Paris; baritone Johannes Mannov (the Count), from Copenhagen; baritone Mariusz Kwiecien (also the Count), who lives in Cracow; our two mezzos sharing the role of Cherubino, Sarah Castle, (native of New Zealand who now lives in Manchester) and Daniela Sindram (who lives near Munich and is making her American debut with these performances); and Young Artist Alum Ted Schmitz (Basilio), who now lives in London. Soprano Elizabeth Caballero, who sings Susanna, came to us from Miami; but Ernesto was excited to learn she was born in his native city of Havana, Cuba (Caballero came to the US as a small girl, with the Mariel Boat Lift).

Ernesto helps all our singers find accomodation during their stay in Seattle. Most choose to stay in lower Queen Anne, close to the rehearsal studio and to McCaw Hall. For Figaro, however, some of our artists are staying on the Eastside: bass Oren Gradus, who sings Figaro, and Stage Director Peter Kazaras are each staying with family in Redmond; and Maestro Dean Williamson, the conductor (ordinarily to be found in Cleveland these days, where he is Music Director of Opera Cleveland), is very happily staying at his own house in his hometown of Bellevue!


  1. Hi Jonathan: I am really enjoying the blog.

    Does Peter Kazaras get anytime off - or does he go straight from directing Midsummer Night's Dream into directing Figaro? The collision of those two operas could be interesting.

  2. Nope, no rest for the wicked...Peter did the MIDSUMMER post-show Q&A Sunday, we had a planning meeting about next season's YAP yesterday morning, and yesterday afternoon he was directing FIGARO!

    I hadn't really thought about it before, but MIDSUMMER and FIGARO are both high comedies, with characters who are both ridiculous and yet sweet. We'll see how else they converge...