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Mozart, W. A. (1756-1791)


Le nozze di Figaro

The Marriage of Figaro





Composed 1785-1786.
First performed May 1, 1786.
Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte (in Itarian),
after Beaumarchais.




A Summary of gThe Marriage of Figaroh



Act 1
In the 18th century, in Spain, this story takes place on the wedding day of Figaro and Susanna, Count Almavivafs servants. Figaro is surprised to hear Susannafs confession: she is being pursued by the Count. Figaro gets angry, and vows to foil the Countfs intentions.

Act 2
Figaro plans his strategy. It is that Susanna will write to the Count agreeing to a rendevous, but they will send the adolescent page, Cherubino, dressed in womenfs clothes. Figaro and Susanna get the Countessfs consent. When they are disguising Cherubino, the Count unexpectedly arrives. Unfortunately, Figarofs plan failed.
Additionally, Marcellina, an elderly woman, appears there with her lawyer, Bartolo. They remind Figaro of the promise he made to marry Marcellina if he failed to pay back the loan she made to him. Figaro and Susannafs plans to marry seem to be lost.

Act 3
But a big new truth is revealed. That truth is that Figaro who was an abandoned baby, is the long-lost son of Bartolo and Marcellina. Figaro and his parents embraced each other. Then, Susanna joins them. Figaro and Susannafs plans to marry go ahead without interruption. Further Bartolo and Marcellina also marry, resulting in a double wedding.
By the way, the Count... he continues to try seducing Susanna. The Countess is amazed at his foolishness. She decided that she would disguise herself as Susanna to meet him in the garden that night.

Act 4
That same night, the Count goes to meet Susanna in the garden of his mansion. He makes a move on his wife who is dressed in Susannafs clothes. The Countess can get evidence of his affair. Then, she reveals herself to him. The Count realizes that his lover is his wife, and is very surprised. However, the Countess forgives her husband who regrets what he had done.




A Comment on gThe Marriage of Figaroh



This opera, gThe Marriage of Figaroh, is frequently performed. This opera has a very complicated story, so it may be difficult for you to understand all of this opera. But, you will find many parts that will make you laugh whenever you watch this opera.

What I wrote in the summary above is only one part of the whole story. If you understand the feeling of the various characters in this opera, you can find different points of view through each of them. You can watch this opera many times without being bored.

This opera was composed by W. A. Mozart. It is filled with charms of Mozartfs music, for example, the famous overture, Figarofs aria eNo more gallivanting,f  Cherubinofs aria eYou ladies who know what love isf, and other pieces. Almost all of them are rhythmical music, so the music can relieve the stresses of daily life.

The most important scene is the finale of Act 2. This finale is a very large scale, and a lot of people continuously come on the stage. The music gradually speeds up, and changes key many times. You will be overcome by Mozartfs music.

There is a special character in this opera, the adolescent page, Cherubino. He is a boy who aged about fifteen. But, Cherubino is played by a female singer, Mezzo Soprano. In addition, Cherubino dresses in womenfs clothes in Act 2. It seems the audience and singer do not understand whether he is a man or woman.





Recommended Recordings and Videos



[CD] Bohm; Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra, Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus; Prey, Mathis, Fischer-Dieskau, Janowitz. (1968, Deutsche Grammophon)


[CD] Jacobs; Concerto Koln, Collegium Vocale Gent; Gens, Keenlyside, Ciofi. (2003, harmonia mundi)


[DVD] Bohm; Ponnelle; Wiener Philharmoniker, Wiener Staatsopern Chor; Prey, Janowitz, Popp, Weikl, Baltsa. (1980, NHK)


[DVD] Harnoncourt; Guth; Wiener Philharmoniker, Wiener Staatsopern Chor; D'Arcangelo, Netrebko, Skovhus, Roschmann, Schafer. (2006, Deutsche Grammophon)




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Mozart, W. A. (1756-1791)

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Leoncavallo, R. (1858-1919)
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Debussy, C. (1862-1918)
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