Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro)

A four-act opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte (after a play by Beaumarchais)

Performed in Italian, with Romanian surtitles

World premiere: May 1, 1786, Burgtheater in Vienna

Premiere date at the Bucharest National Opera House: December 1, 2006

Running time: 19h00 – 22h00 (including one intermission)

Conductor: Vlad Conta/ Ciprian Teodoraşcu

Artistic direction: Alexander Rădulescu
Set and costume designer: Adriana Urmuzescu
Chorus master: Stelian Olariu

Assistant for artistic direction: Ștefan Neagrău


Cast of the 2015-2016 season: 

Almaviva: Florin Simionca/ Daniel Pop/ Daniel Filipescu

Countess: Simona Neagu/ Simonida Luţescu/ Teodora Gheorghiu (guest)

Susanna: Florina Ilie (guest) / Cristina Marta Sandu

Figaro: Vicenţiu Ţăranu

Cherubino: Maria Jinga/ Mihaela Işpan

Marcellina: Sidonia Nica/ Mihaela Işpan

Don Basilio: Liviu Indricău/ Lucian Corchiş

Don Bartolo: Marius Boloş/ Iustinian Zetea

Antonio: Paul Basacopol (guest)/ Vasile Chişiu

Barbarina: Andreea Novac/ Valentina Tudose
 
—i

Memorable Recordings

1958: the recording with Giorgio Tozzi, Roberta Peters, George London, accompanied by the Chorus and Orchestra of the State Opera in Vienna, conducted by Erich Leinsdorf.

1960: with Giuseppe Taddei, Anna Moffo, Eberhard Wächter accompanied by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini.

1990: with Ferruccio Furlanetto, Dawn Upshaw, Thomas Hampson accompanied by the Berlin Philharmonica, conducted by James Levine.

1994: with Lucio Gallo, Sylvia McNair, Bo Skovhus, accompanied by the Vienna Philharmonic, conducted by Claudio Abbado.

2011: with Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Taryn Fiebig, Peter Coleman-Wright accompanied by the Opera Australia, conducted by Patrick Summers. 

About

As in almost all of Mozart’s works, eroticism, sexuality and love are the main motivation of the characters; the characters’ feelings aren’t subject to so many changes in any of the operas of the great composer. One can already feel from the original title of the opera “Le Nozze di Figaro” ossia “La folle giornata” that it tells the story of a marriage and a crazy and very chaotic day.

Alexander Rădulescu – director

 

Figaro, Figaro

Beaumarchais’s character, Figaro, inspired not only Rossini, who explored this character in his opera “The Barber of Seville” inspired from the comedy “Le Barbier de Séville” of the French writer, but also Mozart, who revived him in the opera “The Wedding of Figaro”. He was inspired from one of Beaumarchais’s stories, “La Folle Journée, ou Le Mariage de Figaro” – a sequel of the play “Le Barbier de Séville” –; Mozart’s opera continues the story of Count Almaviva, Rosina and Figaro, who is now the Count’s valet. Because Beaumarchais’s play was, apparently, forbidden in Vienna at that time for being a political and social satire, librettist Lorenzo da Ponte gave up the political references from the original text and translated the libretto into Italian, the language they sang opera at that time.

Thus, Mozart and Da Ponte – who had collaborated before for the operas “Don Giovanni” and “Così fan tutte” - transformed the basic story into a light comedy, very successful at the premiere in 1786, at the Burgtheater in Vienna. Mozart’s Opera was a real triumph with the performance in Prague that same year, when the composer was commissioned by manager Pasquale Bondini to create an opera work especially for the city. that opera being “Don Giovanni”.

 

Synopsis

Act I

In Count Almaviva’s castle near Seville, Figaro, the count’s valet, measures the space where he will live with Susanna, his fiancée, after the wedding. Susanna confesses to her fiancé the advances of his master, who is following her persistently from the apartment near their room. Figaro decides to stop his master from laying a finger on his fiancée.

Doctor Bartolo and Marcellina, arrived in Seville, come to ask Figaro the money he borrowed from them, after he had promised he would take her hand in marriage. Seeing Susanna, Cherubino – the teenager always in love – wants to take advantage of the moment to court her, but the sudden arrival of the Count makes him hide. From his hiding place, he hears the Count‘s useless pleas to get a date with Susanna. Don Basilio’s appearance forces the Count to hide, while Cherubino is protected by Susanna.

The advices Don Basilio gives to Susanna, telling her to accept the count, but also what he says about Cherubino’s love for the countess, drive Almaviva out of his hiding place, he discovers Cherubino and threatens him with banishment.

Figaro’s entrance delays for some time the Count’s revenge. Figaro wants to obtain his approval for marriage. The Count postpones his answer and, to avoid the scandal, he names Cherubino officer in his regiment, ordering him to leave as soon as possible for Seville.

Act II

Alone in her room, the Countess is sad, thinking of the indifference of her husband. Susanna tells her about the Count’s attempts to court her, thus emphasising her sadness. Figaro reveals his plan of forcing the Count to give his consent for his marriage with Susanna. For this, he sends the Count an anonymous note, via Basilio, informing him that the Countess has a rendezvous of her own that evening. Susanna also sends word to the Count that she is waiting for him in the garden. Cherubino arrives dressed in Susanna’s clothes. The Count’s arrival makes him run to the other room.

Despite the Countess’s refusal, Almaviva manages to enter the room where Cherubino is hidden, but he finds Susanna instead, who changed places with the page. The women convince the Count that they wanted to trick him to cure his jealousy, and he asks for their forgiveness.

Figaro arrives with gardener Antonio, who complains that a pot of flowers has been broken and he suspects Cherubino had something to do with it. Figaro tells them he is the guilty one, but the gardener shows them the officer license that the page had lost. Marcellina, Bartolo and Basilio arrive; they are looking for Figaro to force him to comply with his commitment: give the money back or get married. The Count intervenes and announces he will investigate this case.

Act III

Agitated, the Count meditates on everything that happened.

The Countess and Susanna plan a meeting at night, in the garden, where the Countess will participate, instead of Susanna. Rosina leaves and Susanna confirms to the Count that the garden meeting will take place, as settled.

When Figaro appears, Susanna tells her fiancé that the trial with Marcellina is as good as won. These words are heard by the count, he realises that he is being played, and decides, as revenge, to stop the marriage between his valet and Susanna, at any cost. Don Basilio notifies Figaro about what has been settled: Figaro will pay the owed sum of money or he will marry Marcellina. Figaro argues that, being of a noble origin, he cannot get married without the consent of his parents. In his attempt to give more details about the circumstances of his kidnapping from his parents, doctor Bartolo and Marcellina recognise in him their long-lost illegitimate son and thus, Figaro is saved. The two weddings are decided, Bartolo with Marcellina and Figaro with Susanna.

The Countess dictates to Susanna a letter destined for the Count, in which the maid establishes the meeting place. They seal the letter with a needle meant to be given back to Susanna in case the count accepts the invitation.

Barbarina, the daughter of Antonio, the gardener, approaches, with Cherubino dressed as a woman. Antonio identifies the page and the Count threatens he will be harshly punished. Barbarina’s intervention saves Cherubino from his punishment. The sounds of a parade and the appearance of the two pairs (Bartolo - Marcellina and Figaro - Susanna) declare the beginning of the wedding ceremonies. During the dance, Susanna gives the Count the note.

Act IV

Barbarina lost the needle which was used to seal the note and now she is looking for it. She meets Figaro and his mother, Marcellina, she tells them everything, and thus, Figaro’s suspicion about Susanna’s unfaithfulness appears to be justified. Furious, he leaves to catch her with her supposed lover. Figaro hides, waiting. Joined by Marcellina, the Countess and Susanna arrive, after they exchanged dresses.

Cherubino also comes into the garden and sees the Countess in Susanna’s dress, mistakes her for the maid and tries to kiss her. Meeting with the one he believes to be Susanna, the Count confesses his passionate love to his wife. The scene is interrupted by the arrival of Figaro who, wanting to take revenge on the Count, declares his love to Susanna, who he thinks is the Countess. Susanna slaps him, but Figaro calms her down, telling her he recognised her from the beginning but he only wanted to make the Count jealous.

The latter, returning to seek Susanna, finds Figaro and his supposed wife together. Under the torch light the entire mess is clarified and the Count asks for everyone’s forgiveness. 

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