Review- Le Nozze di Figaro- Musica Viva


By Peter Gordon



Hong Kong’s Musica Viva has incrementally moved from one full opera production per year —in December—to two. If this recent production of Mozart’s comic masterpiece is an indication, the smaller production in late September featuring entirely local singers has, over the past couple of years, matured and is hitting its stride.

These productions have tended to concentrate on the lighter side of the repertoire—the past two years have featured comic operas by Gaetano Donizetti. Le Nozze di Figaro, while a comedy, is not necessarily funny: it runs considerably longer than these others and, Mozart being Mozart, lends itself to multiple interpretations. The story is based on class conflict and the musical emotions run from tenderness and sadness to cynicism if not outright nastiness.


Director and producer Lo Kingman abridged the opera to just about two hours and the cast, particularly a perky Phoebe Tam as the maid Susanna, tilted the performance toward humour. Oscar Droscha’s Count Almaviva had the wandering eye (and hands) that the role demands, but was not the irredeemably odious character he can sometimes be. Carol Lin, Petrus Cheung, Charlie Cha, Frankie Fung and Samson Chow—as Marcelina and Bartolo (Figaro’s “lost” parents), the scheming Basilio, the drunk gardener Antonio and the stuttering notary Don Curzio—made the most of the comedic opportunities in their roles. Jessica Ng, as Countess Rosina, did her best to remain as stylish and aloof as possible amidst the goings-on while Sammy Chien’s Figaro was a loving husband-to-be. This was a happy Marriage of  Figaro.

Musica Viva’s productions often have good chemistry—ensemble performances where the whole is greater than the mere sum of the parts—and this Marriage of Figaro followed the pattern. But even ensemble performances can deliver up individual surprises: soprano Vicki. We lit up the stage in the small part of Barberina. She will be a singer worth watching.

[NB: Peter Gordon contributed surtitles and programme notes to this production.]


This production has now closed

Rate This Show: 1 2 3 4 5 Audience Rating: 4.0


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