'Marriage of Figaro' the highlight of trip to Juneau

Posted: Monday, April 26, 2010

I'm an early tourist from Alexandria, Va. My wife and I came to Juneau to take in the usual tourist experiences, but a serendipitous notion led us to attend a performance of the Juneau Lyric Opera's presentation of Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro" on Friday night. It was more impressive than the helicopter tour to the glacier, which was mind-blowing by itself.

This somewhat quiet and unassuming community of Juneau has a sparkling, urbane side to it that is beyond anything I would have imagined.

What I saw wasn't just an attempt at an amateur presentation. The Juneau Lyric Opera company is for real! I was completely taken away by what anyone would consider a fully loaded, dynamic and well-sculpted professional production.

Obviously, the producer, Kristen Miller, must have had her hands full for months to assemble such a successful moment in time. And the director/actor, Paul Shipper, obviously took the presentation, as authentic as it was, "outside the box" to give the cast an opportunity to reap from their best instincts.

I don't want to go into specifics about each cast member's performance, but I can tell you that once you meet Figaro (David Miller), Susanna (Tiffany Hanson), Count Almaviva (Christopher Holmes), Countess Almaviva (Kathleen Wayne), and the priceless personalities of Cherubino (Christine Renee Keene) and Bartolo (Aaron Elmore), you will be transported to another world of charm, humor, and familiar life experiences. The chorus and orchestra are also stellar.

I have a couple of PhD's, one of which is in music education, but I really don't like opera that much - or so I thought.

If you have any chance at all to see "The Marriage of Figaro," which will be performed in Sitka this weekend, you'll be so much richer for having done so.

Robert E. Fisher, PhD

Alexandria, VA

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