Interview with IL GLOBO - Sydney

After an acclaimed season with Opera Australia last year in ‘The Turk in Italy’, Italian baritone and comic master Paolo Bordogna returns to Sydney, as the intelligent servant Figaro in ‘The Marriage of Figaro’. Between Mozart’s melodic score and Lorenzo Da Ponte’s witty libretto, it’s easy to see why The Marriage of Figaro has been charming crowds for centuries.

Making its debut in Vienna in 1786, the comic romp pits master against servant in an archetypal tale as old as time.

With lovers and liaisons, disguises and tricks, lust and laugher, the opera “makes a hero of the underclass” while “highlighting the class divisions of the time and foreshadowing the French Revolution that was brewing on the near horizon”.

“This opera is a perfect theatrical machine,” Bordogna said.

“If you put it on stage in a good way, as has been done, it is absolutely stunning.

“This is one of the most beautiful productions I have ever done in my career, not only for the costumes and set design which are absolutely beautiful, but also for the work we did with director, Sir David McVicar.”

That’s saying something, considering Bordgona has performed more than 50 roles worldwide, ranging from 16th-century classics to contemporary operas.

Scottish opera and theatre director McVicar is well known for his praiseworthy abilities in developing the psychological depth of his characters, a feat that Bordogna said has been achieved particularly well in The Marriage of Figaro.

“Sometimes Figaro will seem like a funny role, but to me he is a very moving and touching character,” Bordogna explained.

“He has psychological evolution within him which is very interesting to act and sing.”

Bordogna was born and raised in a small town near Milan, in a family where “no one was a musician”, but where his dreams of becoming an opera singer were immediately accepted.

When asked for his opinion on the recent call by Australian composers, directors, musicians and vocalists for a “renovation of opera to remove gender bias and sexism”, Bordogna said that he believes classic works of art should not be altered.

“The important things are in real life,” he affirmed.

“In real life we must be respectful and kind toward each other, no matter who we are.”

Bordogna studied with Roberto Coviello, Katia Ricciarelli and Bianca Maria Casoni at the Accademia Internazionale di Desenzano and with M° Alberto Zedda at the Accademia Rossiana in Pesaro. 

He won the Caruso Competition in 2000 and received the Bastianini Award in 2006.

“What can I say... music and opera is my life and when I’m on stage I am in a really good place,” Bordogna said.

For his current performance in The Marriage of Figaro, he expects that audiences to the Sydney Opera House “will go out of the theatre with a lighter heart”.

“Sydney is special because the Sydney Opera House is the only one in the world which is also the symbol of the city.”

The Marriage of Figaro runs from Friday, October 18 to Saturday, November 2 at the Sydney Opera House.

paolo bordogna