16 February 2017
Le Nozze di Figaro, a masterpiece by Lorenzo da Ponte and Mozart, will be coming to the exquisite Manoel Theatre on 28th February, 2nd, 4th and 6th March. Air Malta was recently in contact with director, Jack Furness and artistic director, Kenneth Zammit Tabona to gain insight into what to expect from their production of the opera. Planning a holiday in Malta? Considered one of the great classics, this opera is not to be missed.
Why was Le Nozze di Figaro chosen?
“It has long been my dream to produce the Mozart/ da Ponte operas in succession, namely Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni and Cosi fan Tutte”, Zammit Tabona commented. The opera itself is a fun, controversial piece that has stood the test if time, making it an absolute must-see for everyone. The cast, including Paul Putnins as Figaro and the Maltese tenor Claire Debono as his fiancée, was handpicked by Furness, Zammit Tabona and conductor Philip Walsh, who will be conducting the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra for the opera.
What changes have been made to Manoel Theatres’ adaptation of Le Nozze di Figaro?
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the opera, Le Nozze di Figaro is a story about whether open-heartedness and emotional courage can overcome self-interest. The dedicated team behind this production remained true to what Mozart and da Ponte communicated in the opera. Furness commented, saying “What the opera sets out to achieve is more of a revolution of the spirit, a change in the relations between people. It’s almost like it’s preparing the groundwork for a change in society by changing the way people think. That’s as needed today as it was in the 18th Century.”
Of course, some aspects of the opera have been changed to adapt it to a more contemporary setting, namely who the original characters would be today and how they would fit in to modern society. Furness mentioned “Much of it lends itself really naturally to being set today. For example, it’s mentioned a few times that the Count has been named ‘Ambassador to London’. We’ve spun out so much detail from that one piece of information - but it allows you to see, he’s a politician, he’s wealthy, educated, privileged, and he uses that privilege and that power to attempt to force one of his staff to sleep with him.” For the director, it’s more about remaining faithful to the spirit of the opera and bringing this into a relatable context for everyone.
What challenges were faced with the production of this opera?
“The opera has become so iconic, and yet the animating spirit of the piece is one of iconoclasm”, says Furness. In other words, how do you rescue an opera from its own fame? The creative minds behind this production met this challenge head-on and have successfully created an opera that’s fun and appealing to a wider audience, whilst at the same time, offers a new perspective for those who are familiar with the genre. The end result? An opera that can be enjoyed by absolutely everyone!
What can you expect on the night?
Zammit Tabona commented, saying “Jack’s interpretation will certainly break new ground and will breathe new life and radically change public perception of opera in Malta. This is opera for our time.” Expect to be taken on a journey of conflicting emotions and experience innovative concepts that may change your perception of opera. A great night of theatre is in store!
Purchase your tickets for Le Nozze di Figaro here: Manoel Theatre’s website.
Images courtesy of Manoel Theatre