After its successful premiere with Isang Gabi ng Sarsuwela, the CCP Out-Of-The-Box Series returns with Figaro! Figaro! – back-to-back abridged versions of Gioachino Rossini’s The Barber of Seville and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.
What’s out-of-the-box about the abridged opera production? “In olden times, the composers wanted their operas to be in the language of their audiences. So, we decided to translate the two operas into Filipino. We want opera to be more accessible to Filipino audiences,” said CCP Vice President and Artistic Director Dennis N. Marasigan who did the translation for this production.
Directed by Jaime del Mundo, the back-to-back opera production follows the adventures of Figaro, the main character of the two operas, which is based on The Figaro Trilogy by French playwright Pierre Beaumarchais.
In an interview with PalabasTayo.com, del Mundo says, “What’s exciting about this production is the blending of musical theater singers and opera singers together. The musical theater singers are discovering Mozart, Rossini and the opera singers are doing stuff they never thought they’d be able to do”. He adds, “Together it creates a wonderful crucible of passion, of enjoyment, of happiness, of joy that spreads, hopefully to the audience”.
The trilogy – Le Barbier de Séville (The Barber of Seville), Le Mariage de Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), and La Mère coupable (The Guilty Mother) – revolves around the adventures of a resourceful servant named Figaro, as well as the fascinating recurring characters.
Beaumarchais’s second play, Le Mariage de Figaro, was the inspiration of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. Although it was composed 30 years later, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville has always been regarded as a prequel to Mozart’s opera.
Rossini’s four-act opera follows Figaro, a barber, as he assists Count Almaviva to pry away the beautiful Rosina from her lecherous guardian Dr Bartolo and make sure true love wins.
In Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, the journey continues with Figaro being betrothed to Suzanne, the Countess Rosina’s maid, and how Count Almaviva attempts to prevent the couple’s marriage. Amid various attempts, suspicions and intrigues, will the couple finally find their happy ending?
Cutting down the said operas was easy for del Mundo since he knows the material very well. Although it is heartbreaking to remove any of the music that Mozart or Rossini composed, he firmly believes that editing is addition, not subtraction. You start with a blank piece of paper and you add what you need from the original material that will help you tell the story.
The abridged stories come alive with performances by Filipino talents Bianca Camille Aguila, Roxy Aldiosa, Diego Aranda, Angeli Benipayo, Ruzzel Clemeno, Nerissa de Juan, Roby Malubay, Nomher Nival, Noel Rayos, Jonathan Tadioan, and Floyd Tena.
Farley Asuncion takes charge of the music direction, with Ohm David for set design, Raqs Regalado for costume, TJ Ramos for sound, and Marasigan for lighting.
The CCP Out-Of-The-Box Series has been conceptualized to present performances that audiences normally wouldn’t see in conventional programming. Paired with the ongoing rehabilitation of the CCP Main Building, the premier arts and culture institution of the country strives to continue fostering artistic excellence and cultural representation across multiple venues.
“You should see it because opera is hardly done in this country and when you see a performance and actually grabs and touches you, it can change you for life”, del Mundo said.
CVatch it this August 25 and August 26, 2023, at the Tanghalang Ignacio B. Gimenez. Tickets can be purchased for P1500 via TicketWorld.