Benedict Andrews Moves "Figaro" to a Gated Community
Joshua Bloom, Benedict Andrews, and Taryn Fiebig, at the Sydney Opera House (Photo: Nikki Short/The Australian)
"Oxygen masks, walking frames and maids in starched uniforms are not normally associated with Mozart's 18th-century opera The Marriage of Figaro. But in director Benedict Andrews's imagination, these touches are a way to bring European feudal society crashing through the centuries into modern times. One of Australia's most accomplished theatre makers, Andrews is staging his first opera here after a false start two years ago. His production of Figaro was slated for 2010 but Opera Australia postponed it amid box-office fears and a $900,000 deficit. In the meantime, Andrews made his opera debut with a London production of The Return of Ulysses. 'I'm getting my first big drug hits as an opera addict,' he said before a rehearsal yesterday at the Sydney Opera House. Andrews has transferred Figaro from an 18th-century manor in Seville to a modern gated community to make clear tensions between characters of different social classes. 'This milieu, the framing device of the gated estate, there's nothing that radical about it,' he said. 'It's a simple transposition to a plausible present. 'The opera is about forms of love, forms of desire . . . but they are associated with class and politics and who has what, who gets what, who wants what.' The action begins with a young couple on their wedding day, Figaro and Susanna, and the threat of their aristocratic master, the Count, to exercise the droit du seigneur: the mythical right of a feudal lord to take a subordinate girl's virginity." [Source] For more about performance dates and purchasing ticket prices, click here.