Lyric Opera of Chicago

English mezzo-soprano Diana Montague withdraws from Lyric Opera of Chicago revival of The Marriage of Figaro

Press Release Letterhead
For Immediate Release:
Thursday, December 17, 2009

English mezzo-soprano Diana Montague
withdraws from Lyric Opera of Chicago revival
of THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO due to ill health.
American mezzo-soprano Lauren Curnow to portray Marcellina
at Lyric Feb. 28 – Mar. 27, 2010.


English mezzo-soprano Diana Montague has withdrawn from all performances in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s revival of The Marriage of Figaro Feb. 28-Mar. 27 due to ill health, Lyric’s general director William Mason announced today. The distinguished singer was to have made her Lyric Opera debut as Marcellina in the Mozart opera.

American mezzo-soprano Lauren Curnow will portray Marcellina (role debut) in all 11 performances of The Marriage of Figaro at Lyric.

“We send best wishes to Ms. Montague for a swift recovery,” said Mason. “We are fortunate that Ms. Curnow, a former member of our Ryan Opera Center who has graced our stage several times previously, is available on such short notice.”

Lauren Curnow debuted this fall at Florence’s Maggio Musicale as the Fox in The Cunning Little Vixen; she debuted in the same production in 2008 at Japan’s Saito Kinen Festival, conducted by Seiji Ozawa and directed by Laurent Pelly. An alumna of the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Curnow has been heard at Lyric as Berta/The Barber of Seville (2007-08), Clorinda/Cenerentola and Papagena/The Magic Flute (2005-06), the Fox/The Cunning Little Vixen (2004-05), and Alisa/Lucia di Lammermoor (2003-04). Other engagements include Hansel/Hansel and Gretel (Opera Company of Philadelphia, 2007), Elle/La Voix Humaine and Second Sprite/Rusalka (Wexford Opera Festival, 2007), and Donna Elvira/Don Giovanni (Austin Lyric Opera, 2006). Also this season, the lyric mezzo-soprano performed as a soloist in a concert of folksongs by Luciano Berio at the Teatro la Fenice in Venice, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. In Lyric’s 2007-08 Barber of Seville, the “other” Figaro opera, Curnow was praised by Opera News for her “unusual comedic flair…and her quite fine voice. Berta afforded her a proper aria and she made a delightful thing of it.”

THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO /  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (in Italian with projected English translations)  11 performances beginning at 7:30 p.m., except for matinees at 2:00 p.m.
Feb. 28 (mat.), March 3 (mat.), 6, 9, 12 (mat.), 15, 18 (mat.), 20, 22, 24, 27

Lyric Opera has presented The Marriage of Figaro in eight different seasons previously since 1957, most recently during the 2003-04 season. “La folle journée” (“The Crazy Day”) was the subtitle of Beaumarchais’ comedy on which Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart based his opera, one of the greatest creations in the entire repertoire. It centers on a single frantic day in the life of Aguas Frescas, the castle of Count Almaviva (baritone Mariusz Kwiecien). The Count has designs on Susanna (soprano Danielle de Niese), maid of the Countess (soprano Anne Schwanewilms). Susanna is to be married this very day to the count’s valet, Figaro (bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen), which doesn’t stand in the way of the Count’s keeping an assignation with her. But he reckons without Figaro and Susanna who – aided by the Countess – conspire to teach the philandering Count a lesson. Others figuring prominently in the plot are the amorous young page, Cherubino (mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato); an older couple, Dr. Bartolo (bass Andrea Silvestrelli) and Marcellina (mezzo-soprano Lauren Curnow), who turn out to be Figaro’s parents, to his amazement; Susanna’s devious music master, Basilio (tenor Keith Jameson); and Antonio, the Count’s gardener (baritone Philip Kraus).

The production will be conducted by Sir Andrew Davis (Feb. 28-Mar. 18) and Leonardo Vordoni (debut, Mar. 20-28). The original production is by Sir Peter Hall; Herbert Kellner is stage director, with sets and costumes by John Bury and lighting by Duane Schuler. 

The Dr. and Mrs. Edwin J. DeCosta and the Walter E. Heller Foundation Production. Revival made possible by Mr. & Mrs. Dietrich M. Gross.