THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO
MISCHIEF, MAYHEM, DECEPTION AND DISGUISES IN MOZART’S COMIC OPERA,
THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO
Cape Town Opera is proud to present a new production of WA Mozart‘s comic masterpiece of impetuous love, The Marriage of Figaro (“Le Nozze di Figaro“) in the Opera House at Artscape from 18 to 26 October 2014. The Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of acclaimed conductor, Maestro Jeremy Silver will accompany this production’s talented cast.
The Marriage of Figaro continues the plot of The Barber of Seville several years later, and recounts a single “day of madness” (la folle journée) in the palace of Count Almaviva. One of the great jewels of comic opera, The Marriage of Figaro is a maze of unexpected twists and turns, mistaken identities, disguises and deceptions. There’s mischief and mayhem a plenty on stage when Figaro tries to outwit Count Almaviva, after the latter decides to claim his primitive right to have his way with Susanna on her wedding night.
Figaro is sung by bass-baritone singer, George Stevens; Figaro’s fiancé, Susanna is sung by soprano, Siphamandla Yakupa and in the roles of the nobility – Count Almaviva and the Countess Almaviva are sung by Mandisinde Mbuyazwe and Golda Schultz, respectively. Cape Town Opera is delighted to welcome Golda back to perform in The Marriage of Figaro and to offer local audiences the opportunity to experience her wonderful vocal talents together with those of fellow singers Lynelle Kenned, Violina Anguelov, Thato Machona, Lukhanyo Moyake, Xolela Sixaba, Esewu Nobela and Nomsa Mpofu.
George Stevens has portrayed the role of Figaro countless times and describes him as a special character, not really stupid or naïve as he is made out to be by the Count. “His plan of how to trick and still be the favourite without a finger being pointed at him is remarkable. Figaro is playful, yet serious and loving, and at times threatening, and takes on a challenge towards the Count,” says Stevens.
After completing her degree at the University of Cape Town, Golda joined Cape Town Opera in 2007 and subsequently won a place at the Juilliard School to study with Edith Bers, where she graduated in 2011. Her roles in the USA included La Fortuna and Valetto (L’incoronazione di Poppea) and Mrs. Jenks (The Tender Land) at The Juilliard School; Alice Ford (Falstaff) and Rosina (The Ghosts of Versailles) at the Aspen Music Festival.
“Golda Schultz was an impressive surprise as the soprano. The South African, now based in Munich shows stupendous security in her intonation, highlighting Rossini’s razor-sharp coloratura with power and nuance. A great voice,” says Süddeutsche Zeitung while Der Münchner Merkur claims: “…already a star: Golda Schultz, from South Africa, with an immaculately delivered generous soprano voice, has a genuine talent for dramatic action and a touching warmth in performance…”
Christine Crouse directs The Marriage of Figaro with costumes and décor by Michael Mitchell, lighting by Kobus Rossouw and movement by Jacki Job.
Tickets priced at R 150, R280 and R390 are on sale at Computicket. For further information visit www.capetownopera.co.za or follow Cape Town Opera on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Book at www.computicket.com.
Following five performances only of The Marriage of Figaro at Artscape in October, Cape Town Opera will conclude its 2014 season with the South African première of Dominick Argento’s Postcard from Morocco at Artscape in November. This year has been a remarkable year for CTO as its fifteenth anniversary comes to an end after successful productions of African Angels in Cologne and The Netherlands, Bryn Terfel concerts and Show Boat in Cape Town and the United Kingdom, followed by Mandela Trilogy performed in Munich and Porgy & Bess in Bordeaux and Barcelona. Long may the success of Africa’s leading opera company continue.
Subject to cancel without prior notice.
Artscape, Cape Town
SHOW DATES AND TIMES:
Saturday, 18 October at 6pm; Wednesday, 22 and Thursday, 23 October at 7:30pm; Saturday,
25 October at 6pm and Sunday, 26th October at 2pm
R150, R280 and R390 inclusive
Computicket by calling 0861 915 8000, visit www.computicket.com or visit your nearest Computicket outlet.
TWEET ZONE: Row HH R150
**Patrons in this row will be able to use their mobile during the performance to Tweet or post messages on Facebook, but will not be allowed to take or make calls. No pics or recordings are allowed during the performance.
50% discount for the performance on 22 October valid only on R390 tickets and limited to 100 tickets, Rows F-R, on presentation of valid ID. First come first served basis only.
Bookings only through Computicket outlets and Artscape Box Office.
For further media information and images please contact:
DEBRA DE SOUZA
(m) + 27 82 822 9478
THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO
Count Almaviva — Mandisinde Mbuyazwe
Figaro — George Stevens
Doctor Bartolo — Thato Machona
Don Basilio — Lukhanyo Moyake
Cherubino — Lynelle Kenned
Antonio — Xolela Sixaba
Don Curzio — Esewu Nobela
Countess Almaviva — Golda Schultz
Susanna — Siphamandla Yakupa
Marcellina — Violina Anguelov
Barbarina — Linda Ntleza
LEAD CHARACTER NOTES AND SINGERS BIOGRAPHIES
COUNTESS ALMAVIVA: GOLDA SCHULTZ, soprano
COUNTESS ALMAVIVA (Rosina) The Count’s wife. Still in love with him, she knows he wants to cheat on her. Bartolo’s former ward; married three years ago to the Count. The strongest character in the opera; still very much in love with the Count despite his treatment of her. Tries to turn a blind eye to his affairs. Gentle, graceful and dignified, patches up the Count’s sporadic and thoughtless treatment of his subjects – loved by them. Clever, wry sense of humor; covers up her feelings when in company. Susanna is her closest friend.
GOLDA SCHULTZ came to international attention when she made her European debut at the Bayerische Staatsoper in May 2012 as Contessa Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, whilst still a member of the Bayerische Staatsoper Opernstudio. Der Neue Merker wrote of that performance: “She mastered this opportunity with bravura. With her warm, clear and richly nuanced voice and her fresh, youthful acting she captivated the public from the first moment… an altogether auspicious debut”. “One is already a star: Golda Schultz, from South Africa, with an immaculately delivered, generous soprano voice, a genuine talent for dramatic action and a touching warmth in performance.” (Der Münchner Merkur, June 2012)
Munich based South African soprano Golda Schultz comes from a musical family. Many of her relatives belong to choirs. Most of her family lives in Cape Town and her parents reside in Bloemfontein. Golda learnt to play the violin, piano and recorder in her teens and at the age of 16, became one of the youngest performers to win the FNB Vita award for her role in Evita.
Soprano Golda Schultz, from Bloemfontein, South Africa, recently graduated from The Juilliard School where she was privileged to perform with conductors such as James Levine, Harry Bicket, and William Christie. Her roles at Juilliard included La Fortuna and Valletto (L’incoronazione di Poppea) and Mrs. Jenks (The Tender Land). In 2010 Ms. Schultz made her Aspen Music Festival debut as Rosina in John Corigliano’s Ghosts of Versailles, and returned in 2011 to perform the role of Alice Ford (Falstaff) – all to great reviews.
While in South Africa, Ms. Schultz was a member of the Cape Town Opera studio, where she performed as Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Magda (La Rondine), and Veronica Jonkers in the South African opera Valley Song. In 2008 she was a finalist in the Julian Gayarre International singing competition. She has performed with some of the top orchestras in South Africa in oratorio concerts, as well as charity events and outreach programs.
Ms Schultz studied with Edith Bers at The Juilliard School and Virginia Davids at the University of Cape Town. She has also worked with renowned singers Kiri Te Kanawa and Michelle Breedt in master classes and individual coachings. This season at the Bayerische Staatsoper she has performed: Die Modestin (Der Rosenkavalier), Erste Mädchen (Der Zwerg), Ortlinde (Die Walküre), Der Rabe (Sigurd der Drachentöter) and Fuchs (Die Schlauen Füchslein). 2012 saw her debut as Contessa di Almaviva at Bayerische Staatsoper, with Luca Pisaroni and Simonkeenlyside. And most recently a successful debut as Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier
COUNT ALMAVIVA: MANDISINDE MBUYAZWE, baritone
COUNT ALMAVIVA – Employer of Figaro and Susanna who has feelings for Susanna – immensely wealthy, married to Rosina; bored, unhappy young lord of the manor, who both before and after his marriage has been seeking comfort in the beds of other women; insecure in love, lavish, generous and extravagant, solitary, brooding; with a great capacity for suspicion and able to be wildly jealous of Rosina. Fancies himself a wild, romantic womanizer. Liable to vent his temper on anyone available; not much interested in ruling his subjects or improving their lives in any way; consequently rather unpopular with them. Has recently abolished the droit de seigneur; is now pursuing Susanna and has become jealous and resentful of Figaro for being betrothed to her.
MANDISINDE MBUYAZWE Mandisinde studied at the University of Cape Town, College of Music. During his student years he took part in many opera productions, including the title role in Don Giovanni. He was awarded the second prize in the Schock Foundation Singing Competition in 2008 and first prize in 2011. He has since performed in Il viaggio a Reims and Le nozze di Figaro in Cape Town and at Brown University, Rhode Island, in the premiere of Bongani Ndodana-Breen’s Hani, La Bohème and in the African premiere of The Rake’s Progress. While completing his Postgraduate Diploma in Opera, Mandisinde performed the roles of Maestro in Viva la mamma, Don Pizarro in Fidelio and Crown in Porgy and Bess in Bordeaux, Wiesbaden and the UK and in Cape Town Opera’s Gala Concerts in Melbourne, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly and 2014 in Munich as Mandela 3, in Cape Town Opera’s production of Mandela Trilogy at the Deutsches Theater.
FIGARO: GEORGE STEVENS, bass-baritone
FIGARO – A barber who is a servant to the Count and engaged to Susanna.
Previously the Barber of Seville; three years ago helped the Count obtain Rosina, in gratitude was made his personal valet; self-educated, betrothed to Susanna. Has recently lost the Count’s good will on account of being engaged to Susanna. Looks at everything with a broad humour, even the Count’s pursuit of his fiancée. More easy-going than Susanna, not at all suspicious but able to be as hot-blooded as any of the others when occasion demands it. Adept at plotting and getting out of difficult situations; able to think on his feet.
GEORGE STEVENS: The Cape Town-born baritone George Stevens began his stage career, after private studies with Dr Nellie du Toit, in 1992 in the role of Selim in Il turco in Italia with Cape Town Opera. His international career began after his studies in Vienna with Kammersänger Wikus Slabbert and with Prof. Josef Metternich in Munich. His European opera debut was at the Bayerischen Staattheater with the Bayerischen Staatsorchester. The following years saw him appearing as a guest artist in operas and concerts both in Europe and South Africa. In 1998 George Stevens was appointed as a permanent member of the Opernensemble des Bremer Theaters, undertaking the Italian repertoire and gaining great popularity with the Bremen public. In 2006 in Bremen, he was honoured with the Kurt-Hübner Prize “for the most convincing singer and actor with extraordinary stage presence…”
On February 1 George Stevens was appointed lecturer in vocal studies at the South African College of Music. Born in Cape Town Stevens was the principal baritone at Staatstheater Bremen, Germany, from 1998 to 2006, launching into an international solo career in 2007. In 2013 Stevens played the villain in Cape Town Opera’s production of Otello – this is what the critics had to say: “I was simply blown away by George Stevens who plays Jago, one of the most vocally and emotionally intimidating roles in the production. This South African-born maestro now lives in Germany and has performed across Europe but it is a privilege to have him back on home soil. His swaggering demeanor, strident baritone and consistent commitment to the persona of an illustrious villain is the psychological hook that splices and strings together this four act play. His ruthless manipulation of Cassio and Otello make his anti-heroic schemes the centre-piece of a glittering operatic table and grant thematic substance to this musical feast.” Review by WhatsOnInCapeTown
“Frequently in the course of this opera the role of Otello is almost eclipsed by that of Jago, sadistic exploiter of his general’s weakness. As is often the case, the villain’s personality has more impact than the hero’s (although Otello is not strictly heroic). George Stevens combines a powerful baritone with a commanding stage presence to make his performance nothing short of magisterial.” Review by Cape Argus “Our own George Stevens as the manipulative Jago (Iago) was a delight to hear. His Jago held all the requisite dark flaws that carry the character.” Review by Monday Missile