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Mozart: The Marriage of Figaro

Summary

Opera in staged version
  • From Sunday 15th to Friday January 20th 2023
  • Royal Opera
  • 3h30 with intermission
Accueil Mozart: The Marriage of Figaro 2023

Cast

Robert Gleadow Figaro

Ana Maria LabinThe Countess Almaviva

Thomas Dolié The Count Almaviva

Angela Brower Susanna

Alix le Saux Marcellina

Miriam Albano Cherubino

Norman Patzke Bartolo, Antonio

Paco Garcia Don Basilio, Don Curzio

Manon Lamaison Barbarina

Les Musiciens du Louvre

Marc Minkowski Conductor

Ivan Alexandre Stage direction and lighting

Antoine Fontaine Sets, costumes and lighting

Stéphane Le Bel Collaboration on lighting

Romain Gilbert Assistant stage director

 

Presentation

It is perhaps, along with Wagner’s Tetralogy, the most famous cycle in opera: between 1786 and 1790, Mozart and Da Ponte signed their famous Trilogy comprising three major operas, The Marriage of Figaro (1786), Don Giovanni (1787), and Così fan tutte (1790). In truth, in Mozart’s vast output, these three works are perhaps the most accomplished, thanks to his librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte. The latter, a key figure in Vienna, not only brought Mozart success, but also librettos tailored for the composer’s genius. For music is at its most beautiful, and the three works give the listener no rest, with a succession of situations, arias, duets and sumptuous ensembles.

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Their common points are very powerful: three Italian operas, in the buffa style, three “drama giocoso”, intended for the troupe of the Vienna Opera; each  presents the action condensed in a single day, a guarantee of urgency and brilliance; French influence is evident everywhere: Figaro inspired by Beaumarchais, Don Giovanni along the lines of the rebellious and flamboyant character illustrated by Molière, and Così in a style drawn from Marivaux and the French comic opera that was very popular in Vienna. Finally, it is the spirit of freedom that unites these three works and still speaks to us today, although in its time it was particularly daring. The heroes of the Trilogy are certainly libertines: in politics for Figaro who, like Beaumarchais, breaks social barriers and leads the game, in religion for Don Giovanni who defies God as “the great lord who has turned into an evil man ” he is, and lastly in love all the time, especially in Così, whose four protagonists play a game that is as entertaining as it is imprudent…

 

Le Nozze di Figaro marked the beginning of Mozart’s collaboration with Da Ponte.  It was Mozart who proposed to adapt Beaumarchais’s 1784 Paris production of The Marriage of Figaro, banned in Vienna by Emperor Joseph II. But by removing the political texts from the libretto, Da Ponte allowed the original sparkling comedy, translated into Italian, to be performed without any censorship issues (even though everyone knew the context well…). At the premiere in 1786, the success was mixed in Vienna, but Prague was enthusiastic about this love imbroglio set in Seville, where the Countess and Suzanna play cat and mouse with the gentlemen, to avoid the Count’s designs on his maids… Figaro undertakes to set this little world to rights, to confound his Master while preserving the Countess’s affair with Cherubino.  An infernal machine launched at full speed, which allows Mozart to produce arias of great beauty, an exceptionally determined Figaro, and reversals of situation which are the subject of brilliant ensemble numbers at the end of each act. Exhilarating!

 

The three operas of this famous Trilogy are presented here together over three days, in the order of their composition. The characters (and their interpreters) travel from one work to the next, as so many bonds of love and power run through these three emblematic operas, to the point of imagining that they could be three acts of an exceptional whole. This in any case is the vision selected by Ivan Alexander and Marc Minkowski, in the flexible set of trestles and sails designed by Antoine Fontaine for the stage of the Drottningholm Historical Theatre and the Royal Opera of Versailles. The great challenge of this “complete” project is for the singers to have nearly 9 hours of music in their heads and in their voices, without being able to rehearse or rest between each evening… The ace team brought together for this project with the Musiciens du Louvre, will bring it to a climax! And the challenge for the spectator is obviously here, to see the three operas in three successive days, to be more than ever dazzled by an absolute concentrate of Mozart’s genius!

 

Original production: coproduction Opéra Royal / Château de Versailles Spectacles, Drottningholms Slottsteate

Trilogy coproduction: Opéra National de Bordeaux, Fundació del Gran Teatre del Liceu, Opéra Royal / Château de Versailles Spectacles

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Programme

Opéra-bouffe in four acts, with libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte after Beaumarchais’ The Marriage of Figaro, first performed in Vienna in 1786.

 

Performed in Italian with French and English surtitles.

Video

The Royal Opera of the Château de Versailles

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