‘Marriage of Figaro’ Bows at TAMIU Feb. 24

TAMIU Opera Students Perform
Abridged Mozart’s ‘Marriage of Figaro’

Spend an evening enjoying something new at Texas A&M International University with the first-ever student performance of a Mozart opera Saturday, Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m. or take in an encore show on Sunday, Feb. 25 at 4 p.m. in the Center for the Fine and Performing Arts’ Recital Hall.

Admission is $7.50 for adults and $5 for students.

“The TAMIU Opera Workshop and Combined College Orchestra will perform The Count's Revenge: An Abridged Version of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro,” explained Dana Crabtree, voice instructor and stage director.

“The production includes Acts III and IV from Mozart's beloved comic masterpiece, preceded by a plot summary of Acts I and II. Students will sing an English version of the Lorenzo Da Ponte’s original Italian libretto,” Crabtree continued.

The opera’s story takes place in 18th Century Seville during the upcoming wedding of Figaro and Susanna—valet and chambermaid to the Count and Countess Almaviva. The Count, while publicly favoring the marriage, secretly hopes to seduce Susanna. The virtuous Susanna informs Figaro and the Countess of the Count's intentions. The three band together to foil his plans. 

The addition of such characters as a mischievous page-boy, a nosy music master, various people from Figaro's past who seek revenge over old offenses, and a drunk gardener provide all the ingredients for a marvelous comedy of errors.  

Audiences will likely recognize familiar Mozart melodies, including the sublime finale music of Act IV to which the film Amadeus paid tribute.

“There are many wonderful operas, but Figaro stands apart. Its musical complexity, scrumptious melodies, hilarious libretto and the political concepts therein were a real poke in the eye of the establishment when it was first performed and continues to delight audiences everywhere,” added Brendan Townsend, Orchestra conductor.

Crabtree and Townsend said they are excited about the collaboration of student orchestra and singers on such a landmark work. 

“This is a great chance to bring together diverse artistic forms, and it helps the whole department grow stronger.  The opportunity for young orchestral players to develop their skills through accompanying singers is a vital part of overall musical education. The specific skills required to play The Marriage of Figaro—including accompanied recitatives—help the orchestra grow as a unit,” said Townsend.

Crabtree agreed.

“The singers get such a ‘rush’ when they first sing their parts with a live orchestra. I still experience the same excitement myself when I arrive at that point in the rehearsal process. In addition, the cast members are constantly remarking on how impressed they are with the playing ability and musical sensitivity of their peers in the orchestra. The growing mutual support and collegiality that Brendan and I are noticing among the students is every bit as important to us as their mastery of music performance. As music faculty, this sort of thing does our hearts good,” she enthused.

The chorus of peasants is made up entirely of students from the United High School Choir under the direction of Paul Foster, as well as students from the TAMIU Early College High School.

The Combined College Orchestra is made up of students from TAMIU, Laredo Community College, and Laredo Independent School District and United ISD schools.  

For more information, contact Crabtree at 326.3040 or dcrabtree@tamiu.edu or visit offices in CFPA 233A.

University office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu