IMMIGRATION REFORM AND INCOME EQUALITY
ADDRESSED HEAD-ON IN THE NEW YORK STAGE PREMIERE OF
A CONTEMPORARY ADAPTATION OF MOZART’S CLASSIC OPERA
LIMITED ENGAGEMENT MARCH 19th THROUGH APRIL 3rd
AT THE DUKE ON 42ND STREET
OPENING SET FOR MARCH 24th
REVIEW: If you think you have seen a modern staging of an opera, well, you have seen nothing. This 'Figaro 90210', presented at the 'Duke on 42nd', is by far the best opera adaption ever created. You wouldn't find a better suited opera, written 230 years ago, to be adapted in year 2016 than the Marrigae of Figaro. Remember that Mozart was considered as a modern composer (one of the first Pop star!) by his contemporaries. The Nozze di Figaro (Mariage of Figaro) opera is incredibly well adapted in a modern setting. The libretto, by Vid Guerrerio, is brilliant and directed by Melissa Crespo. Mr. Guerrerio has a pen that sweats of intelligence, humor, and creativity. It's safe to say that Mozart and he would have been writing partners. We can also appreciate the subtitles so nobody can miss one single word of this splendid adaptation. Mrs. Crespo understood how to combine comedy, opera, and theater making it entertaining for the ones who knew the opera perfectly and the newcomers. If Mozart had lived today, he would have written it that way. There are no questions about it. The singers are all very talented not only vocally but as actors as well. To be noted is Jose Adan Perez starring as Figaro. Mr. Perez shows a perfect baritone technique and at the same time delivering a great acting performance. No wonder that Placido Domingo saw in him this unique timbre and resonance. One of the other great talent is Samarie Alicea who is a true blessing on the stage. She has a sun shining in her voice and is a very strong actress delivering her entertaining comedy skills. A great Cecilia Bartoli with a Latino flavor characterizes this fantastic singer. For the rest of the cast: Luke Scott portrays a fabulous Almaviva, Raquel Suarez-Groen is a perfect Countess, Dwayne A. Washington is hilarious and provides a pretty R&B singing perfectly adapted with Mozart (you'll need to see it to believe it). All the rest of the cast are perfect in their roles, or perhaps they made it so well that we feel that Mozart has written those roles for them: Emma Grimsley, Sahoko Sato Timpone, Ethan Herschenfeld, Lori Mirabal, Michael Kuhn and David Castillo. The orchestra was perfectly conducted by Raphael Fusco who also played the piano. He managed to keep a score well balanced, precise and joyful while keeping a modern rythm to fit this first class adaptation. This Sold Out Premiere ended up with a well deserved standing ovation (with an audience of all ages) and encored with a message of peace. If Mozart had been in the audience, he would have been delighted and honored to see his work and legacy being performed with so much passion, talent, intelligence and creativity. This unique production is playing until April 3rd. Sell your house if you have to or quit your job if you can't find time, but GO TO SEE THIS SHOW!
Echoing current presidential candidates’ contentious views on immigration, the opera ¡Figaro! (90210) brings the debate over immigration reform and income equality center stage beginning Saturday, March 19th at The Duke on 42nd Street, a New 42nd Street® project (229 West 42nd Street). After highly acclaimed concert performances in 2013, and a sold-out run with LA Opera in January 2015, ¡Figaro! (90210) will make its New York stage premiere opening Thursday, March 24th for a limited engagement through Sunday, April 3rd. This adaptation of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro blends the original score with a new English (and Spanglish) libretto by Vid Guerrerio and recasts the title character and his fiancée Susanna as undocumented workers in a mansion of a Beverly Hills real estate mogul and his actress wife. Melissa Crespo directs with music direction by Raphael Fusco.
Concert performances of ¡Figaro! (90210) were hailed by The New York Times as “blasphemous, brilliant… realistically contemporary and timelessly comic,” while The New York Observer listed it among the top 10 operas of 2013, and the New York Post called it "sparkling… as relevant as CNN and as sexy as an episode of Revenge.” ¡Figaro! (90210) features a widely diverse cast with credits ranging from the Met to opera houses in Seattle, Lyon, Basel and Tokyo.
As timely and politically charged as Mozart's source material, a 1784 stage comedy about class and power by Pierre Beaumarchais, ¡Figaro! (90210) presents a sharp social critique of our times, tempered by a deeply humane spirit of reconciliation. Set in present-day Los Angeles and filled with pop references and contemporary slang, this production also makes the opera more accessible to today’s audiences by distilling the action into a two and a half hour show.
"Nowadays, The Marriage of Figaro is such a part of the cultural landscape that it's easy to forget just how fresh, and even dangerous, the opera and play were when they premiered," says librettist Guerrerio. "Setting the action amidst current debates over immigration reform and income inequality presents a chance to learn from the past. Written in response to a period of tremendous social change, the original addresses many of the same challenges we’re facing more than two hundred years later.”
The New York stage premiere is sponsored in part by the Mexican Cultural Institute. “As Consul General of Mexico in New York, I am happy to support ¡Figaro! (90210),” states Ambassador Sandra Fuentes-Berain. “Not only is it a showcase for one of Mexico’s beloved singers, José Adán Pérez, but also a crowd-pleasing entertainment that addresses, with laughter and beautiful music, issues of real importance for so many Mexicans living in the US, as well as the larger Latino community.”
The cast of 14 opera singers reflects the increasingly multicultural demographics of present-day America. The cast is led by baritone José Adán Pérez as Figaro and soprano Samarie Alicea as Susana, with bass-baritone Luke Scott and soprano Raquel Suarez Groen as their employers Paul and Roxanne Conti (based on Mozart's Count and Countess Almaviva). Tenor Dwayne A. Washington plays the teenage troublemaker Li'l B-Man (a character based on Mozart's Cherubino), while the roles of Soon-Yi Nam and Babayan, a Korean businesswoman and Armenian mobster who cause trouble for Figaro and Susanna, are played by Sahoko Sato Timpone and Ethan Herschenfeld.
Sets are designed by Steven C. Kemp, with costumes designed by Lux Haac and lighting designed by Gina Scheer.
The playing schedule for ¡Figaro! (90210) is as follows: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7PM, Fridays and Saturdays at 8PM and Sundays at 7PM.
Tickets are $89. To purchase tickets and for further information, please visit: Figaro90210.com or Dukeon42.org. Tickets also available by phone at 646-223-3010, or at the box office. (Regular box office hours at The Duke on 42nd Street are: Tuesday-Friday 4pm-7pm; Saturday 12pm- 6pm. Box Office hours are extended on performance days.)
About the organization: The New 42nd Street
Founded in 1990, the NEW 42ND STREET is an independent non-profit organization charged with the continuous cultural revival of 42nd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues. Committed to the transformational power of the arts, the NEW 42ND STREET builds on the foundation of seven historic theaters to make extraordinary performing arts and cultural engagement a part of everyone’s life. The NEW 42ND STREET fulfills this purpose by ensuring the ongoing vibrancy of 42nd Street’s historic theaters; maintaining and fully using the NEW 42ND STREET Studios and The Duke on 42nd Street to support performing artists in the creation of their work; and through The New Victory Theater, New York’s premier theater for kids and families.
About the theater: The Duke on 42nd Street
The Duke on 42nd Street is an intimate black-box performance space in the heart of the theater district, which is available for rental to both nonprofit and commercial organizations. Featuring a gallery along all four walls and a custom, state-of-the-art seating system, The Duke on 42nd Street is a fully-staffed facility that offers full light, sound, and support systems in various configurations. Some performing arts companies have called The Duke on 42nd Street their home, including Primary Stages, Transport Group, Theatre for a New Audience and Lincoln Center Theater LCT3, while other acclaimed companies have performed on its stage, including The Royal Court Theatre, Steppenwolf Theater Company, Armitage Gone! Dance, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Naked Angels, Classical Theater of Harlem and the National Theater of Great Britain.