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Watch and Listen: Preview of AVA's Production of The Marriage of Figaro, Live from WRTI 90.1

Don Valentino
AVA resident artists in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro

Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) begins its 85th Season with a production of Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro). Join us on Friday, November 8th at 12:10 PM, the day before opening night, when cast members visit WRTI to perform highlights, and chat with WRTI's Susan Lewis. 

Mozart's comic masterpiece, Le Nozze di Figaro premiered in Vienna in 1786. Based on a 1784 play by Pierre Beaumarchais, it tells the story of Figaro and Susanna, whose plans to marry go awry as their philandering employer, the Count, attempts to seduce Susanna. With the aid of the Countess, Susanna outwits them all in a day of disguise, mix-up and ultimately, marriage!

WRTI Program:

  • Opening scene from Act I "cinque...dieci...venti" (Figaro & Susanna) On the morning of their wedding day, Figaro and Susanna are measuring their new room to make sure the bed will fit.
  • Recitative & Aria from Act II "Voi, che sapete" (Cherubino, Countess, Susanna) Cherbino, the Count's page, accompanied by Susanna on the guitar, sings a song about love to the Countess, upon whom he has a crush.
  • Finale of Act II (excerpt) "Esci omai garzon malnato" (Count & Countess) The Count, a major philanderer, is suspicious of his wife's activities. In a series of comic misunderstandings, misdirections, and switch-ups, the Count believes that Cherubino is hiding half-dressed in the Countess' closet. 
  • Recitative & Sextet from Act III "Riconosci in questo amplesso" (Figaro, Susanna, Count, Marcellina, Bartolo, Don Curzio) In the past, Figaro borrowed money from Marcellina, with the promise that if he could not pay her back, he would marry her. On the day of Figaro's wedding to Susanna, Marcellina appears to collect her debt. The matter has gone before a magistrate, who rules that Figaro must pay up or marry Marcellina.  

AVA's Performances of Le Nozze di Figarorun November 9 to 24, 2019 in Center City, Haverford, and the Lehigh Valley. 


Brent Michael Smith, bass - Figaro - the Count's valet - betrothed to Susanna

Aubry Ballarò, soprano - Susanna - the Countess' maid - betrothed to Figaro

Timothy Murray, baritone - Count Almaviva

Kara Mulder, soprano - Countess Almaviva

Pascale Spinney, mezzo-soprano - Cherubino, the count's page

Cody Müller, bass - Bartolo, a doctor from Seville

Chelsea Laggan, mezzo-soprano - Marcellina, Bartolo's housekeeper

Sahel Salam, tenor - Don Curzio, a magistrate

Elise Auerbach, pianist


The Academy of Vocal Arts, founded in 1934,  has its home at 1920 Spruce Street in center city Philadelphia. It trains Resident Artists from around the world as international opera soloists, through rigorous instruction and coaching, and performance opportunities in concerts, oratorios, public programs and fully staged professional opera productions. Resident Artists are cast in leading roles that they will in all likelihood continue to perform for the rest of their careers. 

Admission is determined by competitive annual auditions. 

Susan writes and produces stories about music and the arts. She’s host and producer of WRTI’s TIME IN online interview series, and contributes weekly intermission interviews for The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert series. She’s also been a regular host of WRTI’s Live from the Performance Studio sessions.