Photo credits - Ch'ng Shi P'ng.
Kuala Lumpur City Opera (KLCO), who brought music lovers full-length opera productions such as Puccini’s La Bohème, Bizet’s Carmen and Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore and La fille du régiment will present Mozart’s masterpiece, The Marriage of Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro) on 12, 14 & 15 October at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre.
KLCO’s The Marriage of Figaro will be conducted by the renowned Colombian Conductor, Juan Montoya. Mr. Montoya has been the recipient of several scholarships and prizes, including various invitations as guest conductor and several prizes as a Pianist and Composer. He has been the principal conductor at KLCO in Malaysia since 2014. Stage direction is by the esteemed, Vince Connor, who is a native of Florida. Mr. Connor has established himself as a prominent and versatile stage director. He made his directing television debut with WGN’s hit series Manhattan, and recently brought Puccini’s Suor Angelica to the University of Arizona Opera Theatre. In 2015 alone he directed five different productions ranging from the classics of Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio and Puccini’s La Boheme, to Sister Carrie with Janiec Opera Company, and The Tenderland at Opera North.
The role of Figaro is played by the charismatic Samuel Lim who hails from Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia. Mr. Lim obtained the ATCL singing diploma of London Trinity College and Guildhall in 2013 and plays “Figaro” who is a doting fiancé, cunning servant and resourceful debtor. Neither his philandering master, Count Almaviva nor his persistent creditor Marcellina can destroy Figaro’s efforts to marry the love of his life, Susanna. A bolt from the blue awaits Figaro as he stumbles upon startling news about himself and Marcellina in The Marriage of Figaro.
Figaro’s passion is matched only by that of the character Susanna, brought to life by soprano Ho Chi Mei. Chi Mei is known for her perceptive musicianship skills, fine sense of musical engagement and stylistic understanding in her singing. She plays the precious fiancé of Figaro who is also a loving servant to the distressed Countess Almaviva. The character Susanna is always on the lookout for the notorious Count Almaviva who is bent on seducing her via droit du seigneur which is the customary right of a feudal lord to have sexual relations with a vassal's bride on her wedding night!
Figaro and Susanna are constantly pricked by a thorn in their sides in the form of Count Almaviva, their philandering employer! The notorious Count Almaviva is played by award-winning Malaysian bass-baritone Chi Hoe Mak. Chi Hoe enjoys a varied career in opera, recital and for concert work in Malaysia and abroad. International engagements have taken him to China, France, Germany, Indonesia, Spain and all over the UK. The character, Count Almaviva, was once a romantic young man in the prequel, Barber of Seville. In The Marriage of Figaro, the Count is now a notorious adulterer, much to the distress of his wife, Rosina, the Countess Almaviva. Count Almaviva attempts to seduce every beautiful woman he encounters, particularly his horrified servant Susanna!
As Figaro and Susanna’s wedding plans face constant derailment by Count Almaviva, they find an ally in Rosina, the Countess Almaviva played by soprano Ang Mei Foong. Ms. Ang received her vocal training from National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU, Taiwan), the Conservatorio di Musica Santa Cecilia (Rome, Italy), and subsequently the University of Melbourne (Australia). The Countess is anguished by the philandering ways of her husband, but does not succumb to despair. With the help of Susanna, Figaro and the Count’s page Cherubino, she is set to remind her wayward husband of the love they once shared!
They are supported by a host of other principal characters, a 35-member KL City Opera Chorus, the Orchestra Ensemble of KL City Opera and joined by the children from the Opera for Kids workshop. Helmed by executive producers Danny Chen & Ho Soon Yoon, the co-founders of KLCO, the production team include accomplished Soprano Cecilia Yap as vocal director and Chi Hoe Mak as chorus master.
The Marriage of Figaro is a comic opera in four acts by Mozart with an Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte. Set in Seville, it is based on the play Marriage de Figaro which was at first banned in Vienna. The opera narrates how servants Figaro and Susanna unite in matrimony, foiling Count Almaviva's efforts to seduce Susanna! The opera lover and curious art enthusiast are in for a treat!
Executive Producers - Danny Chen & Ho Soon Yoon
Conductor - Juan Montoya
Stage Director - Vincent Connor
Vocal Director - Cecilia Yap
Répétiteur - Soon Kun Ming
Chorus Master - Chi Hoe Mak
Costume Designer - Dominique Devorsine
Set Designer - Vincent Connor
Stage Manager - Joycelin Low
Assistant Stage Manager - Joy Yuriko Sakai
Lighting Designer - Lim Ang Swee
Sound Engineer - JJ Tan, Soundworks
Surtitle Operator - Soo Ying Ji
Surtitle Editors - Wong Vi Vien, Chris Wong
Designer - Rachel Tan
Front of House - Marcus Lee, Christine Chen, Jacqueline Chen, Lim Wai Peng
Official photographer - Chng Shi P’ng
Promotion photos - Shawn Lor, Pixelpics
Videographer - Where’s the Fish
Orchestra reduction arrangement - Kenneth Robert, www.smallscore.com
Stage - ICON TNS Sdn Bhd
KLCO Artistic Committee Danny Chen, Ho Soon Yoon, Cecilia Yap, Juan Montoya, Chi Hoe Mak, Soon Kun Ming
Marketing - Danny Chen, Ho Soon Yoon, Charlene Angela, Wong Vi Vien, Joy Yuriko Sakai, Soo Ying Ji