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Texas State Opera relatable for audience members

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Students and the San Marcos community were in for a night of laughter and music as the school of Music and the Texas State Opera Theatre presented the comedic opera “The Marriage of Figaro” March 2-5 in the Performing Arts Center.

“The Marriage of Figaro” follows the love story between Susanna and Figaro over the course of a chaotic day.

The opera composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart first premiered in 1786. The production has been named one of the best operas by multiple critics and it contains some of Mozart’s most famous melodies.

The opera was originally written in Italian but Samuel Mungo, director and associate professor, decided to put the show on in English.

“It’s what I think about the most,” Mungo said. “Not many people in the area speak fluent Italian, French or German so to do a show in those languages in my mind serves no purpose but I’m definitely a minority when I say I like operas in English.”

Mungo said there were even some faculty who prefer the operas in their original language but he made it a priority to make the opera relatable for audience members.

Daniel Jordan, New Braunfels resident, said he was pleasantly surprised when the actors walked on stage and began hitting their music notes in English.

“I knew the show was in Italian,” Jordan said. “That’s what I was expecting and at first I was thrown off but it was nice to actually know and understand what they were singing.”

The ‘stand and sing’ style of opera was something Mungo was never interested in. Mungo said he stresses not only vocals to his actors but also the importance of acting.

“It was never the type of opera I was really into,” Mungo said. “And honestly it’s the kind of opera I fall asleep in. I’m just not interested and I’m the opera guy. Sometimes people get scared that emoting may ruin the note but the voice doesn’t have to stay inside you can actually sing out. We want to sing beautifully and be able to act.”

The opera also incorporated a projector into the set which included subtitles to help the audience keep up with the lyrics.

Emily Sanchez, Texas State alumnus and New Braunfels resident, said she didn’t expect to find so much humor in the opera.

“It was hilarious,” Sanchez said. “I have been to operas before but the actors and actresses in this one really knew how to deliver their jokes and I know sometimes that can be hard to pull off but it was really funny.”

Mungo came to Texas State ten years ago and at the time there was not an Opera program established yet.

Since then, the program has received multiple recognitions and people are now coming specifically for the opera program, according to Mungo.

Mungo said his favorite moment of the whole production was witnessing how much his students and actors grew as performers.

“The growth of those young singers was transformative,” Mungo said. “They grew like ten feet. It was a huge jump for them and as a teacher you’re happy when someone understands but to see that kind of growth so suddenly was probably of the most satisfying moments for me.”

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