Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro is one of opera’s great masterpieces, a true classic that audiences never tire of. It is at once a frivolous bedroom farce and a well-aimed kick in the britches for the nobility.
The Marriage of Figaro is a relationship drama with elements of both farce and psychological comedy. With Mozart’s wonderful music and its combination of high and low culture, nonsense and earnestness, it has consistently been ranked in the top ten of the opera repertoire.
The plot is a continuation of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, a work we will be performing this season, in which factotum Figaro and the young Count Almaviva attempt to rescue the young Rosina from the clutches of her elderly guardian. The Marriage of Figaro takes up the story a few years later and Almaviva and Rosina are married. He has now tired of his bride and his gaze has wandered to another lady, Figaro’s fiancée Susanna...
Our own production, directed by legendary German theatre and opera director Peter Stein, received glowing reviews on its premiere in 2016 and was nominated for the Swedish Association of Theatre Critics’ Theatre Award. It is a truly classic production, faithful to Mozart’s stage directions.
“This is opera at a high level and I can only congratulate all of those who bought a ticket.”
“I have seldom laughed and sighed so much in so many right places,”
Figaro, the Count’s valet, and Susanna, the countesses’ maid, are looking forward to their marriage. The Count, however, is plotting to seduce Susanna and delays the wedding. With the help of the Countess, who is keen to teach her husband a lesson, and the Count’s page Cherubino, Susanna and Figaro attempt to outwit the Count, reveal his plans and ensure that the wedding takes place.
More and more people become involved in the erotic intrigue. After a good deal of toing a froing involving people hiding, disguising themselves, drawing erroneous conclusions and, with varying degrees of success, attempting to dupe one another, the whole thing ends with a good laugh. The chastened Count returns to his wife and Figaro and Susanne can finally marry.
A CONTROVERSIAL PLAY
The original stage comedy by Pierre Beaumarchais on which the opera is based was highly controversial when it was written in the late eighteenth century. As if a servant presuming to be the equal of a nobleman was not enough, the play also implies that women should have the right to decide over their own lives! Librettist Lorenzo da Ponte was forced to tone down the play’s revolutionary tendencies to appease Emperor Joseph II. Despite this, beneath the opera’s frivolous surface one can discern the gravity of a gender and class struggle that forebodes the approaching French Revolution and the age of enlightenment.