The title of this Mozart adaptation implies a superficial superimposing of contemporary culture on to the classic canonical opera – a possible nightmare example of lip service to modernity. However, this is decidedly not superficial. Placing layer upon layer, a modern couple are debating whether to watch the Marriage of Figaro or Keeping Up With The Kardashians. What ensues is a tri-partite comic analysis of marriage through analysing the Count and Countess of the original, Chris Humphries and Kim Kardashian and the earlier mentioned fictional couple; concluding that it is not an institution that works for all. And the character of Figaro watches over all, becoming a Tiresias-type figure who impartially sees the events of the three plotlines which all begin to intertwine; while contemplating his own coming marriage.
The music will vary – the original score will be preserved for the Count and Countess, while the other plotlines have variations on this, including synths and even a new pop song performed by Figaro. The operatic voices were universally strong and the acting likewise impressive. Although conceptually complex, the songs maintain interest in the opera through the novelty of hearing the classic melodies given new comic lyrics, and avoids being sunk by the possible pretentiousness of the concept by successfully fusing elements traditionally associated with both high and low culture in an accessible and funny piece of pop art.
In short, this reviewer feels optimistic about this piece. It was surprisingly thoughtful for a piece which threatened intellectual complexity and snobbery; and manages to balance the fine line between being faithful to the original and showing creative innovation to keep up with the times. This is a bold show that looks to be another fine example of adapting Mozart’s classic comic operas.