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PDX OPERAbeat | A Company Blog is the blog for all things Portland Opera, featuring a variety of guest contributors who will provide insider's tidbits on all we do to celebrate the beauty and breadth of opera.

Meet the Staff: Figaro

Rehearsals for The Marriage of Figaro started yesterday! The halls are filled with Mozart! I'll have plenty to tell you about the show once things are in full swing. For now, I thought this would be a great time to introduce you to Figaro.

This is Figaro. He's generously agreed to answer some questions about himself for this month's staff profile.

Name: Figaro

Position: Costume Kitty. My ID badge says so.

Meet the Staff: Figaro 2

I have to wear it on my collar because I don't have thumbs.

How long have you worked at the opera?
I started on the job this spring.

Were you involved with music before working with the opera? Are you a life-long opera fan, or new to the art?
Well, to be honest, I still haven't seen my first opera. I'm really more of a behind-the-scenes sort of fellow. I like to supervise the costume fittings. (Don't tell Frances, our costume shop manager -- I let her think she's in charge). I do sometimes saunter into the Music Studio, if somebody leaves the door open for me, so sometimes I get to peek in on rehearsals. Everyone is always so pleased to see me, I figure sometimes it's just nice to pop your head in and say hello.

I also spend a lot of time in the box office. I like to hear how ticket sales are going. And there are a lot of warm laps in there.

What's your background? Where did you grow up?
I grew up in northeast Portland. I don't really talk about my early life. Before I came to the opera, I had a very brief but pleasant stay with a nice guy named Jona, who works in the opera warehouse. But his house was pretty full of other cats, so I ended up here.

What do you do in your spare time?
I like to hang out in the hallway. Sometimes the nice people in the box office will make paper balls for me. They seem to know just what I like: A nice, paw-sized paper ball that I can bat down the hallway. Sometimes they play tricks on me and plant the ball behind one of the pictures on the wall, so I have to jump to get it down.

I also really love to knock things off the tables in the costume shop. All those pins are so shiny when they fall on the floor.

Sometimes, if it's late at night and I hear somebody out in the hall, I do my best impression of an opera singer. They'll usually poke their head in to say hello.

What's the best part about the job?
All the soft things to sleep on. Plus, it just seems like everyone is so happy to see me all the time. I think I really bring a certain something to this company.

What's the hardest part of the job?
It seems like every time I settle down on a nice scrap of fabric, somebody needs it for something. Why do they always choose to work on the thing I'm sitting on? People are always like that.

Also, sometimes there are loud noises in the shop. I hate those noises!

If you could travel back in time to any performance in history, which would it be and why?
Well, you shouldn't let this get out, because I know it's not really opera, but I'd love to have been able to attend the premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats. Obviously.

Also, I'd love to see a performance of Duetto buffo di due gatti -- "duet for two cats." People say Rossini wrote it, but I'm pretty sure that's not true.

There's also that great cat scene in L'Enfant et les Sortileges, which unfortunately I wasn't here to see. Still, anytime cats get to be in classical music, I am down with that.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
Kitty mind-meld. I keep head-butting people, thinking maybe it will work this time, but no luck so far.

Thanks for the interview, Figaro. Do you think I could get a picture with you?
Usually I really don't go for this sort of thing, but okay. Just this once. But you have to come down here to take it.


Figaro the cat

I noticed in your interview with Figaro that you completely glossed over the terror he bestows on the office dogs! Once Figaro came to the costume shop, they all learned very quickly to avoid the Figaro Hallway (even though they know at heart that Figaro is a pushover!).