“Is it over?” my 8-year old-daughter asked at the first intermission of Utah Opera’s current production of The Marriage of Figaro.
The way her eyes shone even as she asked me a question I’d been dreading, left me confused. “Do you want to go?” I asked.
“Noooo,” she said. “It’s wonderful.”
While it’s difficult to explain to your eight-year-old -- and her six-year-old sister -- the convoluted ins-and-outs of Mozart’s much beloved opera about philandering counts and scheming servants, the joy of the music and the hi-octane romantic drama on stage kept them both mesmerized from 7:30 - 11 p.m. In a stellar cast, stand-outs were undoubtedly Nina Yoshida Nelsen’s spirited turn as the randy page boy Cherubino and Jamie-Rose Guarrine’s much put-upon but eternally resolute Susanna. Nicolle Foland brought an emotional depth to Countess Almaviva’s suffering, perfectly counter-balanced by Philip Cutlip’s witty performance as the self-absorbed count.
If some of the subtleties of class and gender warfare happily went over my children’s heads, the constant farce on stage -- combined with the deliriously tuneful score that is Figaro -- had my eldest clutching her knees on her booster seat in bliss. At the final curtain call, she was standing on her chair, screaming and waving at the singers below. While not the safest thing to do, especially when you’re second row upstairs, it nevertheless was ample testament to the pleasures that The Marriage of Figaro brings to both old and young.
(Remaining performances for The Marriage of Figaro are Friday, March 20 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 21 at 2 p.m.)