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Richard Bernstein was a spirited, energetic Figaro with an appealing stage persona and a dark vocal sound. Isabel Bayrakdarian was a cool, silver-toned Susanna who knew how to handle both her lover and the lascivious count. The real star of this show, however, was Polish baritone Marius Kwiecien. His presence was magnetic, his singing robust, stylistically perfect and well focused throughout. He was a fine Don Giovanni in Santa Fe, so at some point we might hope to hear him sing that role in San Diego, too.

From left to right, Sarah Castle (Cherubino), Mariusz Kwiecien (Count Almaviva) and Martin Zysset (Don Basilio) in San Diego Opera's production of Mozart's 'The Marriage of Figaro'. Photo © 2007 Ken Howard
From left to right, Sarah Castle (Cherubino), Mariusz Kwiecien (Count Almaviva) and Martin Zysset (Don Basilio) in San Diego Opera's production of Mozart's 'The Marriage of Figaro'. Photo © 2007 Ken Howard

Pamela Armstrong was an openly unhappy countess who was seen eating numerous candies in Act II. Her portrayal was moving and she sang with limpid tones, even adding a trill at one point. When she graciously forgave her erring husband in the last act, you couldn't help wishing that they would live happily ever after.

From left to right, Isabel Bayrakdarian (Susanna), Richard Bernstein (Figaro) and Sarah Castle (Cherubino) in San Diego Opera's production of Mozart's 'The Marriage of Figaro'. Photo © 2007 Ken Howard
From left to right, Isabel Bayrakdarian (Susanna), Richard Bernstein (Figaro) and Sarah Castle (Cherubino) in San Diego Opera's production of Mozart's 'The Marriage of Figaro'. Photo © 2007 Ken Howard

 

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Copyright © 30 May 2007 Maria Nockin, Arizona USA

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