Mozart’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ will be Bath Opera’s summer tour in June and July 2023.

Directors will be Peter Blackwood (MD) and Will Stevens (Stage Director)

AUDITIONS WILL BE HELD ON Sunday 20th November from 2pm at Widcombe Junior School, Pulteney Rd, Bath.

Rehearsals

Rehearsals are normally in central Bath between 11am and 2pm (within 10 mins walking distance from the railway and bus stations, or we can arrange to meet cast members).
Rehearsals are likely to commence at the end of March, but not all characters will be called to every Sunday rehearsal. If you are auditioning and cannot make every Sunday, please can you let us know?

About the production

Our production will be set at Almaviva Studios, a big budget film studio in the 1950s (think Pinewood) run by a powerful and influential producer who insists on being called “The Count”.

The world is rethinking itself in the aftermath of the Second World War, the death of empire and the ever-present threat of the Cold War.  Crucially for this opera, the role of women in society is breaking free from traditional restrictions but universal suffrage is a relatively recent phenomenon and British society at large is still, generally, quite conservative with a long way to go in terms of addressing systemic inequality.  However, things are changing and the cultural revolutions of the 1960s are just around the corner…

All arias must be presented in an English translation although, for the purpose of the audition, it does not matter which translation. 

Each character’s audition aria is presented here in the original Italian to avoid confusion about page numbers between different editions of the score.

Audition Pieces and Character Descriptions

Figaro (bass or bass-baritone)

“Tutto è disposto…Aprite un po’quegli occhi” (No. 26, Act 4)

A script writer for the Count’s studio, very smart, sometimes thinks a bit too quickly, wrestles with his own insecurities, helped the Count found his production company but gets no credit for this, helped put the Count in touch with Rosina (The Countess), loves Susannah very much but sometimes takes her for granted.

Susannah (soprano)

“Giunse alfin il momento…Deh! Vieni non tardar” (No. 27, Act 4)

An aspiring young actress, works as a dresser trying to get her “foot in the door” at the studio, refuses to “play the game” with the Count, the Countess is her hero, probably the smartest character in the opera but hasn’t had the educational opportunities of some of the others.

Count Almaviva (baritone or bass-baritone)

“Hai già vinta la causa…Vedrò mentr’io sospiro” (No. 17, Act 3)

The CEO of Almaviva Studios, a wealthy white man in a society that very much works for them, used to abusing his power to receive “favours” from actresses that want a part in his films, very arrogant, a WWII veteran, fell in love with the Countess by watching her films.

Countess Almaviva (soprano)

“E Susanna non vien…Dove sono i bei momenti” (No. 19, Act 3)

Considered the greatest film star of her time, the fickle film industry now considers her “past it” because she is slightly older, called La Contessa in the manner of Maria Callas (La Divina) or Joan Sutherland (La Stupenda), fell in love with the Count when he was a young, idealistic film maker.

Cherubino (mezzo-soprano)

“Non so più cosa son cosa faccio” (No. 6, Act 1)

An errand runner on the film sets, an obsessive fan of every film the Countess has ever made (how he and Susannah became friends), comes from a very religious family so has been brought up to repress his feelings. 

Marcellina (mezzo-soprano or soprano)

Marcellina’s part in “Via resti servita, madama brillante” (No. 5, Act 1)

A retired receptionist at Almaviva Studios, always wanted to be an actress but didn’t have the looks or talent, very bitter about this as she thought she gave up having a family to become an actress.

NB. Marcellina’s aria in Act 4 will be cut in the interests of playing time.

Bartolo/Antonio* (bass or bass-baritone)

“La vendetta!” (No. 4, Act 1)

*These roles will be sung by the same person

Bartolo – a stuffy old lawyer, thinks his legal talents have been wasted in a career dealing with actor’s contracts etc, has made a lot of money but feels his life has missed something.

Antonio – a set dresser specialising in scenes set in gardens and nature in general, irascible and not well-liked, very good at his job but struggles with alcohol, is only allowed to keep his job because of his talent, helped his niece (Susannah) get her job at the studio.

Don Basilio/Don Curzio/The Narrator (tenor)

Any Mozart tenor aria (please make sure you bring a copy for the pianist) and the text below*.

“Right, buckle up! Lots of exposition coming at you fast:

1) The Count and Countess return, and the Countess is forced to reveal that it is Cherubino in the closet before the Count uses his powerful tools on the door, but Susannah emerges from said closet and the Count and Countess are left dumbstruck.

2) Susannah and the Countess tell the Count it was all a practical joke to show how his jealousy rages for no good reason.

3) The Count begs for forgiveness but is confused about the anonymous letter he received about a certain rendezvous.

4) Susannah and the Countess reveal that this was written by Figaro and delivered by Basilio for the same purpose of testing his trust.

5) Figaro bounds into the room and tries to start the wedding then and there, but the Count quizzes him about the letter instead.

6) Figaro is able, with help from Susannah and the Countess, to sidestep the questions.

7) Antonio, the drunk gardener, enters complaining that his favourite carnations were jumped on and that the accused left a piece of paper behind.  Susannah and the Countess recognise this as the military document that Cherubino must have dropped as he leapt from the window.

8) Figaro claims it was he that had leapt from the window and with a little help, again from the Countess and Susannah, is able to tell the Count that it is missing his seal.

9) Marcellina, Dr Bartolo and Basilio enter bringing with them the claims of the contract Figaro has signed, meaning he must pay up or marry Marcellina, and the Count happily delays the wedding until this matter can be resolved.

10) Dramatic music, blackout, time for the interval.  But first, all that in song.”

Don Basilio and Don Curzio are the cover identities of a celebrity gossip columnist investigating rumours of scandal at Almaviva Studios.  The story will be told by him, as dialogue, in place of secco recitative.  No one suspects either of his identities of being fake, ironically making him probably the best actor at the studio, but every now and then he lets his guard down for a moment.

NB. Don Basilio’s aria in Act 4 will be cut in the interests of playing time.

*Please note, this is not from the narration that will be used in the actual production and is just for the purpose of the audition.

Barbarina (soprano)

“L’ho perduta, me meschina” (No. 23, Act 4)

Antonio’s daughter, virtually brought up at Almaviva Studios, rather rebellious thanks to her inattentive and troubled father, rather fancies being an actress but, unlike Susannah, is perfectly willing to “play the game” with the Count.

Any queries to our secretary Pat on secretary.bathopera@hotmail.co.uk please

Performances

Performances of Bath Opera’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ will be at 7.30pm on Fridays and Saturdays between 23rd June and 29th July.
If you are auditioning, please state as early as possible if there any of those dates you would be unable to make.

Venues and dates are only provisional but the programme so far looks like this –

23 June         Strode Theatre, Street
1 July                    Rondo Theatre, Larkhall, Bath
7 and 8 July     Great Chalfield Manor, nr. Bradford-on-Avon
14 and 15 July   Wincanton Memorial Hall
21 July          Julian Slade Theatre, Prior Park College, Bath