One of the more popular operas is being performed this weekend at the Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda. Nickel City Opera will stage Mozart's masterpiece The Marriage of Figaro. WBFO'S Eileen Buckley had a chance to attend a rehearsal where the stars of this opera were gearing up for performances Friday and Sunday.
"Figaro is universal. The newspaper in Paris is called Le Figaro," said Valerian Ruminski, Founder of Nickel City Opera in Buffalo and an international opera performer.
Ruminski explains the notoriety of the Marriage of Figaro.
"And Mozart was inspired by it. Figaro is a character that represents revolution, because he is a servant that rebels against his master who says we were all born equal -- which seems like a simple statement -- but even today that statement has large ramifications," said Ruminski.
This will be the first time Nickel City is staging this particular opera. Ruminski will perform the roll of Figaro. We found him in the corner of the St. Clare Center, just few blocks from the Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda, where he's been holding some of his rehearsals.
"I'm a little older than the normal Figaro, and I haven't done the roll since 1998, and I wanted to do again before I was too old to perform it again," stated Ruminski.
Ruminski will bring in a New York City opera star to perform the key role of the Countess.
"Well we've got a repeat appearance of Maria Teresa Magisano. I've worked with her at the New York City Opera. She's from Montreal, Canadian soprano," said Ruminski.
Magisano appeared in Nickel City's La Bohème. "Now she sings the Countess, which is an exquisite roll. Most people know, at least a little bit of the Countesse's music from the movie The Shawshank Redemption.
"If you remember the part in the movie where's there a duet -- the loud speaker comes on and somebody's playing opera in the courtyard. That's the duet between the Susanna and the Countess from The Marriage of Figaro," noted Ruminski.
Another main female role will be performed by Amy Grable. She'll appear as Susanna. Grable is a native of Kansas, but now lives in Western New York. She's been professionally singing opera for 20-years performing with the Kansas City Lyric Opera, Opera Omaha and Dicapo Opera Theatre in New York City. This is her first performance with Nickel City.
"It's just a wonderful opportunity to get to do it. The whole experience, wearing the costume, getting to sign in a foreign language and just to act and have fun, I've always enjoyed the whole aspect of it because you have to be mentally prepared, you have to have a beautiful voice," said Grable.
Grable's character Susanna is Fiago's bride.
"He's measuring the space for our wedding bed. I actually have my wedding veil and I'm trying to get his attention, and he's sitting her measuring," said Grable.
The Marriage of Figaro is the sequel to the Barber of Seville. Ruminski noted the often get mixed together.
"But The Marriage of Figaro is the same character, but it's now maybe eight to ten years later and the same characters are having interactions," said Ruminski.
Staging this famous opera is one of Ruminski's goals for Nickel City; to perform some of the greatest classical operas for Buffalo area audiences.