Mozart’s masterpiece The Marriage Of Figaro reveals much about the human condition through consummate wit, grace and joyous musical invention, performed by the English National Opera.
As the day of Figaro and Susanna’s wedding arrives, it becomes clear that their master, Count Almaviva, is hell-bent on seducing Susanna before the ceremony can take place. Susanna and Figaro conspire with the forsaken Countess to outwit her husband and teach him a lesson in fidelity.
But when the teenage Cherubino involves himself in their plans, relationships become severely strained through a series of ever-more confusing twists and turns.
The Marriage Of Figaro, (Le Nozze Di Figaro in Italian) is a comic opera in four acts and was the first collaboration between Mozart and librettist Lorenzo da Ponte; they would go on to create Don Giovanni and Così fan tutte. It premiered in Vienna at the Burgtheater on 1 May 1786. The opera was well received in Vienna but had only nine performances; its revival soon after in Prague was a tremendous success, and led to the commission of Don Giovanni. The Marriage Of Figaro quickly entered the international repertory and has rarely been out of it since, admired as one of Mozart’s finest works.
The Marriage Of Figaro was in some ways an instant success. Its bubbling overture, its brilliantly crafted arias and its lively and intricate ensemble scenes won the hearts of audiences. Encores became so numerous that after the work’s third performance the emperor declared that, to keep the evening to a reasonable length, only numbers written for a single voice could be repeated in any opera. (As it turned out, this edict may not have been enforced.)
ENO Music Director Martyn Brabbins conducts this second revival of director Fiona Shaw’s critically acclaimed production.
The cast includes Lucy Crowe, as the despondent Countess, and bass-baritone Ashley Riches, as the philandering Count. ENO Harewood Artist Rhian Lois is the ever-resourceful Susanna, alongside Dutch baritone Thomas Oliemans as Figaro, while Harewood Artist Katie Coventry sings her first Cherubino.
Sung in English, with surtitles projected above the stage.