All the way back. That's where Opera Columbus finds itself entering this weekend, during which it will stage its first locally produced opera, Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, in five years. A 2011 operational/financial restructuring led to an internal process that generated a new vision for the company, largely driven by Artistic Director Peggy Kriha Dye.
All the way back.
That's where Opera Columbus finds itself entering this weekend, during which it will stage its first locally produced opera, Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, in five years. A 2011 operational/financial restructuring led to an internal process that generated a new vision for the company, largely driven by Artistic Director Peggy Kriha Dye.
Figaro marks the culmination of that process and the first implementation of this new vision, which starts with providing a stage for emerging young opera singers and local singers as well, and ends with the creation of a production from the artistic vision and the creative process: costumes, sets, casting -- the works.
"It's surreal," Dye told The Beat.
"I'm very excited. There's a risky energy that comes from having such a young, vibrant cast."
In addition to the cast, Opera Columbus is responsible for the full creative product for Figaro. This was achieved in no small part to partnerships with BalletMet Columbus (for its costume shop); CATCO (for set design and construction, and leading to the hiring of Eric Barker as production manager); and, of course, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra (live music).
"Those partnerships allowed us complete artistic freedom. It's a testimony to this city that there was no hesitation on anyone's part to share their resources," Dye said.
Initially hired as set designer, Barker subsequently was given the title of Opera Columbus' production manager.
"Peggy's vision is inspired. This is a great new starting point for Opera Columbus," he said.
Barker purposefully was vague about the set, which plays a significant role in shaping the piece and includes a "reveal" at the end of the opera's second act. While the costuming is traditional 18th century, Barker said, the set is less ornate, and is interactive to the point of being, in Barker's words, "a game."
"It's up to the audience to imagine certain things. The set is very interactive with lots of moving parts. The director is using them to help define the characters and tell the story."
Conductor Jason Hiester has handled a variety of musical duties in his years with Opera Columbus -- years that predate the restructuring.
"It's always been a wonderful company, but this new energy is very healthy and exciting," he said.
"This is definitely the full coming out, the full emergence of the company."
Hiester called Figaro one of the top five opera scores, describing the music as "sublime" and "phenomenal."
"The combination of local talent and these emerging stars, they're doing a great job. This is a great first opera to take someone to, but those who love the piece will get what they're expecting."
The production is abbreviated from four to two-and-a-half hours, and will be sung in English. It's a comedy, Dye said, so people "will be laughing at the lines and not at the surtitles."
"We want audiences to be entertained, even overwhelmed," she said.