Photo by Kenneth Ingram.
Earlier this week we posted a preview about the upcoming Marriage of Figaro. Today, we bring you some fun facts. And a reminder to enter to win one of two pairs of tickets to see the show on opening night (Saturday, March 21, 2015). To enter, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “marriage” in the subject header. Winners will be chosen by random draw at noon on Friday, March 20.
The show is a homecoming for Wallis Giunta (Cherubino) who grew up in Ottawa. Her incredible voice and impressive work ethic will see her performing at the Met in New York next month and in Leipzig and Rome next season. Asked what’s it’s like to be back home, Wallis says, “the funny thing is I don’t come home much now unless I am performing. I’m working a lot abroad, all over the world. So to have a long contract like this, six weeks is a wonderful luxury.”
In a funny turn of events, the show’s Figaro, John Brancy and Wallis are a couple offstage. It was through her introduction that he auditioned for the part. On working with John, Wallis says, “It’s amazing to be able to do this with him. Not only are we together but we’re with my family and his parents are coming to see the show as well for a few days so we’ll have all of us together. It’s just heaven. It doesn’t get better than this.”
David McCaffrey of McCaffrey Haute Couture designed an original gown for Susanna’s wedding dress. The piece had to reflect the time period, but it also had to be believable as a maid’s dress. Most importantly, it had to be flexible because opera singers can expand their chest up to three and a half inches when singing. McCaffrey was up to the challenge having designed gowns for Wallis Giunta to wear in performances. The finished product is a beautiful one-hundred percent silk gown complete with a bonnet veil that has to be seen to be believed.
In the words of director Tom Diamond, “a good Marriage of Figaro is all about detail.” It’s no accident then that the costumes are so accurate it’s startling. To get the details just right, the show’s costume designer visited the Downtown Abbey Costume exhibit at Toronto’s Spadina museum and took notes.
Opera Lyra has been building the pre-wedding/ pre-show excitement for weeks with a stag ‘n’ doe party and a rehearsal dinner for Figaro and Susanna, and even an opera flash mob with the Opera Lyra Chorus.
Conductor Kevin Mallon knows all about the things we think of when we imagine opera, “All great big heavy women and great big sets and velvet curtain costumes.” But he also knows that the cast and crew have done a great job working on this production when he says “If we get people in here they’ll just laugh from start to finish.”