Figaro Unbound: Culture, Power, and Revolution at Play

Posted in resources by Editor on December 19, 2014

Readers in the Los Angeles area as well as those planning to attend ASECS may find this series from LA Opera of interest. The associated programming is extensive. CH

Figaro Unbound: Culture, Power, and Revolution at Play
Various venues in the Los Angeles area, January — April 2015

After Jean-Marc Nattier, Portrait of Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, ca. 1755 (Institution:Comédie-Française)

After Jean-Marc Nattier, Portrait of Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, ca. 1755 (Institution: Comédie-Française)

From February 7 through April 12, 2015, LA Opera will produce three operas inspired by the works of the French playwright Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (1732–1799). Beaumarchais was a man of many talents: a playwright, watchmaker, inventor, musician, diplomat, fugitive, spy, publisher, horticulturalist, arms dealer, satirist, financier and revolutionary (both French and American). His trilogy of Figaro plays—The Barber of Seville (1775), The Marriage of Figaro (1784) and The Guilty Mother (1792)—captured staggering changes in social attitudes of the late 18th century. These plays and their characters have been subsequently adapted into operas (some more successful than others) by Paisiello, Salieri, Massenet and Milhaud to name a few.

LA Opera’s programming of the “Figaro Trilogy”—John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville and Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro—within the 2014/15 season will immerse audiences in the world of a character who created a sensation in the years leading up to the French Revolution. The lasting legacy of the free-thinking barber will be explored in Figaro Unbound, a three-month celebration of the revolutionary spirit.

With a variety of programming for all ages, Figaro Unbound will investigate the ongoing relevance of Figaro and the Beaumarchais trilogy. There will be performances of alternate musical adaptations of Figaro’s story and opportunities to examine his lasting influence on American political and cultural life. Figaro Unbound partners include ArcLight Cinemas, the Hammer Museum, Opera UCLA, A Noise Within, LA Theatre Works, FIDM Museum, the Huntington Library, LACMA, the Norton Simon Museum, the Getty Museum, and the Opera League of Los Angeles, among others.

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