Come See Who Wears the Pants in The Marriage of Figaro

Ever see a woman playing a man's role? How about a woman playing a man's role dressed as a woman? Director Ray Buffer says, you are in for even more outrageous complications than that, in Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro".
By: Mysterium Theater
Kaitlyn Wolf wears "the pants" in THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO at Mysterium Theater
Kaitlyn Wolf wears "the pants" in THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO at Mysterium Theater
ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. - April 9, 2017 - PRLog -- Experience a night at the opera in La Habra from May 5 to May 28, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 5pm.

Regarded as one of the greatest operas ever written, Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro) is a screwball comedy complete with disguises, surprises, and compromises. Figaro, the wily barber of Seville and part-time matchmaker, has finally fallen in love. But, like everything else in his life, it's complicated. On the eve of Figaro's marriage to Susanna, his master, Count Almaviva, sets his wandering eye on the lovely bride-to-be. Servant and master go head to head, and even the Countess Rosina gets in on the action when she learns of her husband's desires. But is she embroiled in a dangerous liaison of her own? From the opening notes to the final curtain, Mozart's score delivers a tangled love story with great farce and satire.

Cherubino is a cherub-like boy with girlish features who is on the precipice of maturity, and lusts after every woman.  The role is written as a "pants" role.

Pants roles have a rather colorful history.  First of all, there are two types of pants roles.

1. Roles written for castrati.

2. Roles written for women.

The first type are left-over from an era when men were castrated before puberty in order to keep their treble-range voices.  Some roles were written specifically for this voice-type.  Examples of this are Handel's Ruggiero (Alcina), Gluck's Orfeo, and Mozart's Sesto (La Clemenza di Tito).

The second kind are usually the role of a young boy.  These roles are sung by women for two main reasons:

1. A boy's voice hasn't changed yet, so a woman's voice sounds more like a boy's than a man's would.

2. A woman can more easily pull off the physicality of a young boy.  A grown man will almost always look like a grown man.

The most famous of these are Mozart's Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro), Humperdinck's Hansel (Hansel und Gretel). and Richard Strauss' Octavian (Der Rosenkavalier).

Even outside of opera, it is not so uncommon for women to play young boys.  In Beaumarchais' original play version of The Marriage of Figaro, Cherubino is also cast as a woman.  The other common instance of this is J.M. Barrie's play-version of Peter Pan in which the title role is played by a woman.

In La Habra, at the Mysterium Theater's production of The Marriage of Figaro, opening on May 5 for 12 performances, Kaitlyn Wolf will portray Cherubino.

Kaitlyn Wolf is a CSUN graduate with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance, and she tries to get her hands on anything vocal, though she specializes in musical theater and opera. By far, her favorite roles she has played are Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance (West Valley Playhouse) and Monica in The Medium (CSUN).

When asked about her exposure to playing pants roles before and her thoughts about Cheubino, Wolf states, "I've never played a pants role before, but I was familiar with the idea from the Prince in the opera Cendrillon and it is a common practice among Shakespeare's plays."

"I always loved those roles in particular for the challenge, and honestly, the sheer amount of fun you can have going outside normal gender conventions. I'm particularly excited about playing Cherubino because he can easily rest in a grey area of gender. He is open with his rampant emotions, even when he doesn't have a full grasp on them. He comes across as very charismatic, but then throughout the show he is put into female clothing!"

"Even though he fits seamlessly in male and female attire and is admired by other characters in both, he doesn't feel fully like himself in those scenes, and it's a thrilling task to balance his charm and that unease."

That quest for identity, acceptance, and comfort in one's own skin, is what director Ray Buffer, hopes will come through.  Buffer directs the production with music director H. H. Hanson.  "Kaitlyn impressed me at the auditions, and I was fearful that she would not accept the role of Cheubino, because it was not a role that she identified as one she was interested in,"  remarked Buffer.

He added, "When I saw and heard her, I immediately thought of Cherubino.  Kaitlyn has a remarkable soprano voice, yet her speaking voice is of a lower register.  She also has a dry wit, and a sharp manner which I know will benefit her portrayal.  I'm glad she came aboard."

Audiences can experience Kaitlyn Wolf in the role of Cherubino beginning May 5th at Mysterium Theater.  Also composing the outstanding cast of characters are: Count Almaviva played by Eric Hindley. Countess Almaviva played by Amanda Meyers,  Figaro played by Stephen Pu, Susanna played by Vanessa Doss, Barbarina played by Danielle Lugo, Basilio played by Garrett Ching, Marcellina played by Mia Noriega Searight, Antonio played by Malcolm Rickard, Don Curzio played by Stan Morrow III, Bartolo played by Matt Koutroulis,  Cupid played by Elizabeth Henderson, The Cook played Gloria Henderson, Maid 1 played by Karina Hunt, and Maid 2 played by Evelynn Moody.

Bringing this cast to the stage are Marla Ladd – Producing Artistic Director, Lisa Garcia - Production Manager, Ray Buffer - Show Director, H H Hanson - Music Director, Jacob Curington - Stage Manager, Edgar Andrew Torrens - Set Designer, Harpsichord recordings by Curtis Heard.

Mysterium Theater is located at 311 Euclid St, La Habra, CA 90631.

Tickets for "Figaro" are available at or by calling (562) 562-697-3311.

Mysterium Theater
Source:Mysterium Theater
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