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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, January 29, 2010

Opera looking forward to a golden season


By Jasmine Cronin
Special to The Advertiser

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Left: Susanna (Shawnette Sulker) performs with Figaro (Leon Williams) in "Le Nozze di Figaro." Hawaii Opera Theatre's 50th anniversary season opener begins tonight at 8 at the Blaisdell Concert Hall. Right: Susanna and Figaro are lovers who plan to marry before Figaro's debt to a count throws his life into a downward spiral.

Photos by Cory Lum

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

From left, Marcellina, played by Victoria Livengood, and Susanna, played by Shawnette Sulker, star in Mozart's timeless masterpiece "Le Nozze di Figaro".

Cory Lum

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Figaro is played by Leon Williams in "Le Nozze di Figaro," Hawaii Opera Theatre's season opener.

Cory Lum

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Marcellina (Victoria Livengood), left, and Susanna (Shawnette Sulker), chambermaid to the Countess, star in "Le Nozze di Figaro," a comedy by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Cory Lum

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'LE NOZZE DI FIGARO'

Hawaii Opera Theatre at Blaisdell Concert Hall

8 tonight, 4 p.m. Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday

$29, $42, $58, $85, $120

596-7858,

www.hawaiiopera.org

Students can purchase tickets on an "available seat basis" for $20. (Student ID is required.) Additionally, season packages can be purchased online or over the phone. For information on this season's opera lecture series or the Insights About Opera course, visit hawaiiopera.org.

Upcoming

"Die Walkure"

Feb. 12, 14, 16

"La BohEme"

Feb 26, 28, March 2

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Hawaii Opera Theatre has chosen to lead off its 50th anniversary season with laughter.

"Le Nozze di Figaro," Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's timeless masterpiece, opens tonight at Blaisdell Concert Hall and tells the tale of Figaro and Susanna, lovebirds who plan to marry before Figaro's debt to a count throws his life into a downward spiral.

To settle the debt, the Count demands Susanna's hand in marriage and that Figaro marry his servant Marcellina. And while the Count tries to break up the young couple, his wife tries to unite them. Between mistaken identity and intense sexual intrigue, nothing is what it seems to be.

And that's opera. Often misunderstood as something only for high society and those who dress to the nines to attend productions performed in foreign languages with impossible-to-follow storylines.

HOT is working to change that stigma. All three of its operas this year "LeNozze di Figaro," "Die Walkure" and "La Boh[0xe8]me" tell tales most people can relate to, with plots involving hope, love, betrayal and scrambling to pay very overdue rent.

And even though the operas are performed in French and Italian, following the plots of HOT productions is easybecause theoperas are "super-titled," or translated above the stage. As for the dress code, it ranges from aloha shirts to ball gowns, and tickets start at $29.

Making the opera accessible to everyone has been key to HOT reaching its golden anniversary season.

"You have all the elements of the performing arts," Henry Akina, HOT's general and artistic director said of opera's appeal. "There's singing, dancing, theater, music."

"Le Nozze di Figaro" is a powerful four-act opera that lasts over three hours. Michael Chioldi plays the Count, Inna Dukachis the Countess, Leon Williams is Figaro and Shawnette Sulker is Susanna.