VoiceArc’s Edinburgh Figaro

Mar 6 2015 | By More

New opera company debuts with Mozart update

A seedy Edinburgh underworld is the chosen setting for a new production of The Marriage of Figaro, which marks the debut of new professional opera company VoiceArc.

Staged at the St Bride’s Centre on Friday 6 and Saturday 7 March 2015, the production, sung in Italian, will tell its tale of love, lust, betrayal and forgiveness using a host of insalubrious characters including hit men, lap dancers, escorts and ageing madams.

Le Nozze di Figaro publicity image

Le Nozze di Figaro publicity image

The company is out to challenge the outdated offerings which have become the norm in contemporary opera companies, according to its artistic director, the opera singer and voice coach Dr Nell Drew.

She said: “VoiceArc arose from a conversation I had with a group of professional singers who were jaded by the constant rehashing of classic operas set within outdated themes.

“Increasingly the young professionals that we spoke to were turned away from opera as an art form because it bore no resemblance to the popular media they chose to engage with in their everyday lives. The need for VoiceArc was clear.”

Drew says the company aims to provide a safe space for its creative team to explore new concepts and storyboards for its singers. Which is perhaps an understatement if the synopsis of the new Figaro is anything to go by.

drugs and prostitution empire

Almaviva, known as il Conte, is trying to keep control of his drugs and prostitution empire after suddenly being made head of his Scottish-Italian crime family.

To make matters worse, his fixer and hit-man Figaro is marrying his most popular club escort and lap-dancer Susanna, the object of il Conte’s lust. Almaviva attempts to foil the marriage in a plot arranged with the club drag-queen Basilio and ageing brothel madame Marcellina.

However, as Drew adds, she also seeks to maintain the musical and vocal integrity and musicality originally envisioned by the composer. So in the end, Almaviva’s schemes backfire and he facilitates two marriages, gives his neglected and bored young aristocratic wife hope for the future and finds himself with a troubled heart and, crucially, no Susanna.

Drew says: “We don’t seek to change the music, and we are still passionate about excellent singing. We aim to change the delivery to create operas for the modern world.

“We hope audiences will be moved, challenged and thoroughly entertained by our unique interpretation of this Mozart masterpiece.”


Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro)
St Brides Centre, 10 Orwell Terrace, EH11 2DZ
Friday 6, Saturday 7 March, 2015.
Evenings: 7pm (running time 3 hours 30 minutes with one interval)
Tickets can be purchased online from Event Brite and also on the door, pre performance:
Opera sung in Italian and may contain some scenes unsuitable for children.


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