The Fayetteville State University Summer Opera Series is staging a performance of Mozart’s opera, The Marriage of Figaro, on July 18 and 19 at 7:30 p.m., at Seabrook Auditorium on the campus of Fayetteville State University.
    There will be a children’s matinee on July 19 at 1 p.m., sponsored by The Youth Growth Stock Fund. The matinee is a one-hour presentation for youth and families and tickets are free. Visit the Web site to reserve these free seats.       
    “We wanted to bring a new kind of cultural aspect to Fayetteville,” said Dr. Marvin Curtis, producer and musical director of the production, assistant dean of the graduate school and choir director of Fayetteville State University. “We have been fortunate to receive two grants in the last three years from the National Endowment for the Arts.”
    Curtis added that this year they received $64,000 in grants.   
    This performance will be a memorable one for Curtis because he is leaving FSU to take a position as dean at another university. The artistic director of the production is Phoebe Hall, director of theater at Fayetteville State University.      

    The Marriage of Figaro is a cornerstone of the operatic repertoire. It is based on a stage comedy in which the plot recounts a single day in the palace of Count Almaviva in Spain.{mosimage}
    “It is a story of love, potential infidelity, masquerade and finding one’s true love,” said Curtis. “I call it all that with music.”
Rosina is now the Countess; her husband, the Count, is seeking the favors of Susanna, who is to wed her love, Figaro, the Count’s valet. When the Count detects the interest of the young page, Cherubino, in the Countess, he tries to get rid of Cherubino by giving him an officer’s commission in his own regiment.  Figaro, Susanna and the Countess conspire to embarrass the Count and expose his infidelity. They find themselves on the palace grounds where a comic series of cases of mistaken identity result in the Count’s humiliation and then forgiveness by the Countess.    
    Four international singers have been chosen for the lead roles: Ivan Griffin, Louise Toppin, Dr. Frank Ward Jr. and Gregory Gardner. The cast members include Kristen Campbell, Johanna Young, Ashley Kotz, Gail Morefesis, Bruce Cook, Clayton Riddle and Michael Jones. 
    The production will be accompanied by local musicians from the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, students and other area musicians.
    “We are using a 28-piece orchestra,” said Curtis. “There is also a chorus of nine singers.”         
    The production has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts Challenge America Program, Cumberland County Tourism Development Authority and The Arts Council of Fayetteville Cumberland County.            
    “People told me that we could not do opera here in Fayetteville,” said Curtis. “The first year we had 2,000 people during a three-day period and this year I expect a full house.”
    Ticket cost is $10 for adults, $5 for children and $8 for senior citizens and military. Interested persons and groups can go to the Web site,, for information on tickets for this event, or call 672-1276.

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