“The Marriage of Figaro” reborn
It was Wednesday, March 11, 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic was just starting to cause greater concern locally and nationally. Eklund Opera Program directors and performers gathered for a final dress rehearsal at Macky Auditorium on the CU Boulder campus, not realizing that this would be their last opportunity to perform together for a long time.
As it turned out, performances of “The Marriage of Figaro” the following weekend were canceled a few days later. It simply wasn’t safe to gather together with a large audience anymore. Although the company was heartbroken about the cancellation, the cast and crew could also take bittersweet pride in having prepared a gorgeous production of Mozart’s lush work.
Stage director Leigh Holman recounts the night of the final dress rehearsal: “The cancellation was confirmed at the final dress and the students wanted to gather together afterward to celebrate their work and to commiserate. They were, and remain, a supportive and loving community of artists. At the restaurant, one voice began the Count’s fourth act line translated as ‘Countess, forgive me;’ then, all of the singers—both casts—joined in singing through their smiles and tears.
With their arms around each other, they sang the ironic words, ‘We all are contented and happy again. Let’s be merry!’ and the young men playing pool near us began filming and crying with us. The sound was glorious and the heartfelt emotion will forever be stamped in my memory.”
Fortunately, this story has a second act.
Later in the spring, searching for great video content for the newly launched CU Presents Digital platform, Assistant Director of Marketing Daniel Leonard learned from the Eklund Opera team that a high quality video recording of one of the final dress rehearsals had been made, originally for archival purposes. “The best and worst part of the live performing arts is that you have to be there for the moment it happens, or else it’s lost to you,” Leonard reflected. “In the wake of so much work being lost to COVID-19, this discovery was pretty wonderful.”
With much support from the Eklund Opera and CU Boulder College of Music production teams, CU Presents video production staff cleaned up the footage and it is now ready for viewers to enjoy. It’s a poignant memory of what it was like to gather and perform together ― and also a reminder that we will be back.
Eklund Opera’s “The Marriage of Figaro” video is now available to watch at cupresents.org. You are invited to pay what you can during the broadcast to support the work of the Eklund Opera Program.