On Being a Man

Feb 23, 2010

By Daniela Mack

“Be a man” is a very commonly-used phrase. Everyone has heard it thrown around at some point or other, and maybe someone has even said it to some of you (ouch!). But, as far as I can recall, nobody has ever said it to me, and with good reason: I’m a girl. But, this month, I’m a girl, portraying the role of a teenage boy (Cherubino) in The Marriage of Figaro.

Just a little background on this boy: cute and spirited as can be, he has the capacity to get himself into trouble just by breathing! He’s playfully mischievous, wildly hormonal, and a huge flirt. He’s a poet, full of innocent love and passion that he’s too young to understand, but certainly not too young to feel. He’s also the essence of youthful vigor and innocence that most of the older characters in the piece may have lost. And so, since he’s young and inexperienced, devoid of inhibitions, lacking any semblance of a reliable verbal filter, and sometimes, of any common sense, he is in perpetual trouble with someone! Picture him as one of those little sparkly, rubber bouncy-balls; he travels fast, knocks things over, and wreaks havoc, all while trying his luck at being charming and adorable. He just can’t help himself!

For the singer/actor, this translates into a lot of running and rolling around, hiding in corners, crawling under things, ducking frequent slaps, and acquiring many bumps and bruises along the way! (For those of you interested in the rehearsal process, knee-pads are lifesavers!!! Padding-up for the knees, and, in my case, padding-down for my not-so-boyish curves.) And, of course, the final step in my transformation from girl to boy: amazing costume and makeup! It’s the magic of the theater!

As for “being a man”, Cherubino looks to several models around the household for inspiration: the Count is a perfect example not only of physical posture and demeanor, but, perhaps more importantly for the young boy, of how to seduce women; he watches Figaro to learn ingenuity and resourcefulness; and from Basilio, he learns how to sneak around the house without being seen. And after combining all of his newly-acquired “expertise,” he tries his luck with any woman he can find: namely Barbarina, Susanna, and even that angel-on-earth, the Countess (even though she’s way out of his league).

This boy hopes you will join us for the ride this Friday and Sunday, and even though you know he’s a girl… don’t tell!

Daniela Mack will be making her (his?) Opera Omaha debut as Cherubino at the Orpheum Theater in Mozart’s Comic Masterpiece, The Marriage of Figaro.

In the 2009-2010 season, mezzo-soprano Daniela Mack, a native of Buenos Aires, will return to the San Francisco Opera for her second and final year in the Adler Fellowship Program, where she will participate in Suor Angelica and sing the role of Siebel in Faust. Previous performances in San Francisco include Idamante in Idomeneo, and Lucienne in Die Tote Stadt, which was her house debut. Additional engagements for the 2009-2010 season include a debut with the Deutsche Oper Berlin as Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, as well as with Opera Omaha. In concert, she will make her Canadian debut with the Edmonton Symphony in performances of Messiah.

Recent notable engagements include her debuts with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as Tamiri in Il Re Pastore, and with Opera Cleveland as Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, both in 2009, as well as a recital sponsored by the Shoshana Foundation, and concerts with the EOS ensemble. In 2007, as a member of the Merola Opera Program, Ms. Mack performed the title role of Rossini’s La Cenerentola.

Tickets start at just $19.

Friday | February 26, 2010 | 7:30p
Sunday | February 28, 2010 | 2:00p

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