“I Due Figaro”: Delightful

Through the years, I have become nearly fanatical in my love for Mozart’s da Ponte operas, so there was no way I was going to miss Manhattan School of Music’s “I Due Figaro.” Though perhaps closer in spirit to Rossini’s “Il Barbiere di Siviglia” than to Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro,” the ample high spirits of the MSM production were sufficient to render such definitions meaningless. “I Due Figaro” was written by Saverio Mercadante with an intended premiere in Madrid in 1826, but diva politics caused it to be shelved, not appearing there until January 26, 1835. The characters are primarily those of Rossini and Mozart but 15 years later. The Count and Countess are parents to Inez, who is secretly in love with an officer. That officer is the grown-up Cherubino, who shows up disguised as a second Figaro. Heartbreak and mistaken identities make for rollicking comedy. MSM’s colorful production was given sprightly direction by Dona D. Vaughn, and was conducted at a clip by Stefano Sarzani. I saw the cast led by Evan Lazdowski as Figaro and the big-voiced Yu Ding as the Count. Cherubino was lent vocal flair by Alanna Fraize. A delightful afternoon.

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