I've more or less just come back from watching a performance of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro
Oh god the lulz. We're talking crossdressing because Mozart wanted a mezzo and then CROSS CROSSDRESSING because Cherubino crossdresses in the plot. Said Cherubino is maybe something like fourteen and is hopelessly infatuated with every female he sees (but only pays attention to Susanna and Rosina/Lady Almaviva.)
Susanna is kind of awesome. Just, downright awesome. She outwits the Lord and confuses her husband (who is in turn trying to outwit the Lord Almaviva) and do I really need to say anything more.
Figaro himself was rather okay, but more because he was rather amusing and was a perfect match for Susanna than anything else. (Also, he recognises Susanna in the fourth act because of her
voice. This is AMAZING in opera terms but fun because it's obvious they have a Slap Slap Kiss relationship.) Figaro apparently also has a birthmark in the shape of a spatula, which I have only just learnt.
There was of course, the many humorous moments in the play (it is
a comedy) but I particularly liked the moment when Marcellina and Bartolo realise they're Figaro's parents and there is a round of "She's his mother? *nod* His mother" x5 because Susanna steps in at exactly the wrong moment and there is a REASON why soap operas are called soap operas. (Knowing the meta makes it funnier.)
There was also the scene in which Rosina and Susanna attempt to dress Cherubino as a girl. Cherubino sings one of the more famous songs from the opera beforehand but as they're stripping him down... Susanna gets to sing something involving the line "Kneel down in front of me". So, funny because it's crossdressing and cross crossdressing and all the implications that stripping down a rather pretty fourteen year old to his underwear entails.
Also funny was in the last act where the Lord Almaviva was doing a very good BATMAN impression with his cloak. Though that might have been more to do with technical aspects...
The technical bits being the gorgeous stage which had lovely vertical 'rooms' that could move and rearrange, a corridor wall-like curtain which had doors in it, A CONVEYER BELT TO MOVE FURNITURE DURING ON STAGE SCENE CHANGES and Rosina's bedroom which had a window that looked like the moon and whose back doubled as the garden.
And the costumes. They had a corsetier on production staff. That should give you an idea of the visual style of the costumes. Even the men's pants and waistcoats had lacing up the back. *swoons* My father thought that keeping the late 18th century costumes was a very good idea – I agree as well, but mostly because they're so PRETTY. (Have a link to the dress rehearsal photos so you can see how awesome they are
. The back-stage video is equally hilrious.
Oh, and Cherubino wears baby blue Converse. And Lord Almaviva looks a bit like Lord Vetinari.
So, reasons to see if you are in Wellington (they had a few seats spare tonight and I think there is another day or two to go): the costumes and set are amazing. The performers are similarly amazing.
Reasons to see it in your lifetime: It's better than The Magic Flute. Seriously. Half the play is spent on switching clothes with other people and LYING, not on religious allegory. (Although you do kind of need awesome performers.) Nor is half the opera devoted to someone going mad.
The meta is fun too, especially all the tropes. Now I wish there was an opera fandom which wasn't based on the performers.