‘The Marriage of Figaro’ at Pittsburgh Opera; Prime Stage Running ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ (Sat., 11/4/17)

Shame, shame! Figaro and Susanna (L) are about to be married, and sneaky Count Almaviva already is: that's his Countess giving him The Glare in Pittsburgh Opera's 'The Marriage of Figaro.'

Shame, shame, Count Almaviva! Figaro and Susanna (L) are about to be married, and the sneaky Count already is: that’s the Countess giving him The Glare in Pittsburgh Opera’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro.’

1) You think Hollywood invented sequels? No, the tradition goes ‘way back, and Pittsburgh Opera is honoring that tradition. Last year the company performed Gioachino Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, which concerns the comical doings of the famous Figaro. Now they’re presenting Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, wherein Figaro gets—well, married, among other things. At its premiere in 1786, the opera was considered rather naughty: Figaro is a servant betrothed to another servant, and the couple must foil their skirt-chasing master’s plan to assert the ancient right of visiting the bridal chamber first. The Marriage of Figaro runs long, with four acts. But Mozart’s librettist, the formidable Lorenzo Da Ponte, felt he needed the length to develop the humorous hijinks and plot twists while allowing the music to blossom. It’s hard to argue with the results. The opera is considered a Mozart masterpiece and remains an audience favorite to this day. Pittsburgh Opera has bass-baritone Tyler Simpson as Figaro, soprano Joélle Harvey as his bride Susanna, and baritone Christian Bowers as that high-class lowlife Count Almaviva. 8 p.m. Performances continue through November 12. Benedum Center, 237 7th St., Cultural District. (MV)

2) Prime Stage Theatre presents a rare adaptation of one of the previous century’s most gripping novels, All Quiet on the Western Front. The book, drawn from author Erich Maria Remarque’s own experiences in the First World War, traces the stories of a group of young Germans who are spurred to enlist by their patriotic schoolmaster. Amid the terrors of the war they find camaraderie (and sometimes, riotous good times) but also become hardened and disillusioned—and many don’t survive. Published in 1929, the novel was later banned in Germany under the emerging Nazi regime, which had little interest in making war look bad. Elsewhere, All Quiet remained widely read and was adapted into a Hollywood movie, yet for many years never made it to the stage. Prime Stage’s production is the U.S. premiere of a version by British writer Robin Kingsland, which opened in Nottingham in 2006. It’s said to be a moving ensemble piece that captures the book’s intensity. To accompany All Quiet on the Western Front, Prime Stage has created a website on “Pittsburgh’s Connections to World War I.” 8 p.m. Continues through November 12. The play is at the New Hazlett Theater, 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side. (MV)