Documentary on ‘Figaro’ opera to premiere at UofL


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – “Figaro,” a feature length documentary about the “The Marriage of Figaro” an opera produced by the UofL School of Music and Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice, Poland, is nearing completion by FilmbyFrame, an independent film company based in Portland, Oregon.

    The film will premiere with a free screening, open to the public, at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 13, at the Margaret Comstock Concert Hall on the UofL Belknap Campus.

    Producer Dan Schaefer, a veteran concept artist for Hollywood films and commercials and an instructor at the Art Institute of Portland, filmed the behind-the-scenes interaction between UofL and Polish students preparing for the performances in Louisville and Katowice.

    “It was compelling to watch the process of the show being built and all the different stages that must be accomplished,” Schaefer said. “You get a sense of just how hard the singers and designers work to bring the show together.”

    Mike Ramach, opera theatre director at UofL, said that the production was just as complicated as the opera’s plot.

    “We’ve had an exchange program since 2003, but the 2007 opera was our most logistically involved project to date,” Ramach said. “Combining two casts from two schools from two countries on two continents and performing in two cities, not to mention two languages, provided a drama of its own.”

    Schaefer followed the adventure step by step as the long distance “marriage” drew capacity crowds and standing applause in its final performances in Katowice. Over 60 hours of film were edited to just over two hours to capture the spirit as well the voices of the students — and the angst of the director.

    Plans are to submit the finished work for consideration at film festivals this year.