It is well known to many students outside the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media and Communication that CSUN has a very successful theatre department. From the cross-culture controversial touch of ‘El Estudio del Maestro’ to the appreciation of contemporary classics such as’ ‘The Importance of Being Earnest,’ the accomplishments of this semester alone merit a figurative round of applause for that entire department.’
What may not be that well known to many students is that at CSUN’s theater department also produces great opera.
It has been five years since the theatre department last re-produced an opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, The last being 1790s ‘Cos’igrave; fan tutte.’ Thankfully, that dry spell has come to an end.
Beginning at the end of the 11th week of fall semester, the theater department is going to be opening their rendition of ‘La Nozza de Figaro.’ Opening on Halloween the production will run for five additional performances: Nov. 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9.
The four act production has been seven months in the making and promises, by those involved, to be a prodigious example of how well music, comedy and song can come together.
‘It’s a very funny comedy,’ said musical director/coordinator David Aks. ‘It’s a kind of parlor comedy if you will.’
‘La Nozza de Figaro’ translates into ‘The Marriage of Figaro,’ and is considered to be one of the best and most well done of all of Mozart’s 22 operas. It is a piece that is considered to be an ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ comedy that is based on Pierre Beaumarchais’s 1784 play entitled ‘La Folle Journ’eacute;e, ou Le Mariage de Figaro.’
Some may think that opera isn’t really meant for students of particular age group. Some may think that it is traditionally meant to capture an older and more sophisticated demographic. However, this isn’t just any opera. According to Aks, ‘La Nozza de Figaro’ is considered to be one of the most refined operas to ever grace the stage.
‘It is one of the most beautiful operas that has ever been written,’ said Aks. ‘It is really like one of the masterpieces of western music.’
This is a piece that will be as close to the original as possible. Despite a few edits, Aks said that this production is taking the novel approach of a direct connection to the original production.’
As in the original, it will be sung in Italian; and for those of us that cannot speak Italian there will be super-titles projected above the stage so that every audience member can understand exactly what is happening and what is being said.
The players will be dressed-to-kill in terms of period piece regalia. The wardrobe was developed and produced specifically for the six nights that this opera will be performed. ‘(The opera) is being done in what we call period costumes,’ said Aks. ’18th century costumes; beautiful, gorgeous costumes designed by Paula Higgins with the wigs and everything; very much a period piece.’
‘ It is hard to imagine the kind of work and dedication that someone must commit to in order to be part of a production of this caliber. To be able to see good actors and good musicians come together to perform an opera that is as remarkable as ‘La Nozza de Figaro,’there is only question left to ask; why would any CSUN student or lover of opera, music or comedy pass it up?