The Marriage of Figaro opens tonight downtown at Opera San Jose. An opera buffa (comic opera), it was written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and premiered in 1786. It appears at number six on Opera America’s list of the 20 most-performed operas in North America. And no wonder; as I listened to Larry Hancock, director of production and general manager, in this interview, it became clear that its popularity likely has to do with its timeless theme of marriage. And all of the expectations, especially those that are misaligned, that go along with it.
Larry Hancock gave us an entertaining and educational backstage tour, and we tried to capture that feeling as best we could here, along with some insights into the opera and production itself. Also, he talks about the growth of Opera San Jose over the years, and what it means to work in a house that’s twice the size.
The plays opens at the gloriously restored California Theatre in downtown San Jose. I’ve been several times, some times for films, other times for concerts. But this was my first time backstage.
I especially enjoyed the view from the stage itself, looking out across the orchestra pit to the rich, detailed architecture, fixtures and deep red seats. It is truly an amazing spectacle.
Then there is the clever set design: movable walls on wheels, soaring set pieces, detailed painting, a large fountain, stage marks, and more.
How special it is for us here in San Jose to have this theater restored, back to life? Later this month I’m looking forward to watching several films at it thanks to the Cinequest 20 Film Festival.
Meanwhile, let the day of madness begin!