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Vermont opera abounds

Green Mountain Opera Company's performance at the Barre Opera House of "The Marriage of Figaro", Mozart's inimitable setting of the second of a trilogy of plays by Beaumarchais-"The Barber of Seville" is the first of the trilogy -last week that ranks as one of the best professional performances in this reviewer's 50-plus years of attendance at operas. It was superb.

Starting with the beautifully understated sets designed by Gary Eckart that were truly, in addition, serviceable, simple, and easily/quickly modified to give a complete sense of scene change. No doubt the set also gave a sense of comfort to the players as surely as it did this opera goer. The production as a whole turned into one of the clearest exegeses I have yet to hear and see of Mozart's incomparable score. Clarity and inventiveness were the rules of the day, and the time sped by in a flurry of comedic activity which strengthened the musical score that underlay all of the action.

From the first chord of the score, the libretto shone brightly. I was so delighted to hear Andrew Wilkowske, the Figaro, ornament the return of the A section of his arias. I had never heard it done in other than the soprano parts in Mozart's operas, and it was wonderful. He is perhaps the most enchanting and real Figaro that I have ever encountered. He is also an accomplished actor.

Cherubino, as portrayed by Adriana Zabala, was a petulant brat with a nose for getting himself into trouble and out again, all the while singing beautifully. Jennifer Aylmer's Susanna was a combination of a pillar of wisdom and the essence of pertness and invention. She sang well from beginning to end. Kate Mangiameli managed to keep something of Rossini's Rosina under the gracious formality of the countess she has become, in fact as well as in name. Her two arias were beautifully phrased. Phillip Addis's Count Almaviva has become a bit coarse and has given himself to some philandering. However, by the end of the opera, he has realized the error of his ways, and he is reunited with the countess. He sang splendidly, with real focus and clarity, and every note in place.

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