Le Nozze di Figaro – March 6-8 2015
Le Nozze di Figaro
WA Mozart and L Da Ponte
March 6-8 2015
Coralville Center for the Performing Arts
Stage director, Georges Delnon Musical Director/Conductor, Shari Rhoads
The Marriage of Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro) was originally set in Seville in the late 18th Century. It is based on Beaumarchais’s 1784 play La Folle Journée, ou Le Mariage de Figaro, a sequel to his earlier play, Le Barbier de Séville (The Barber of Seville), familiar to opera audiences in Rossini’s great opera. (Mozart’s opera premiered in 1786; Rossini’s premiered in 1816). In Rossini’s Il Barbiere, Count Almaviva, with substantial help from Figaro, wooed and won the lovely Rosina away from her crusty old would-be husband, Dr. Bartolo.
In the second play The Marriage of Figaro, Beaumarchais continued their story. The Count has married Rosina but their marriage has grown fallow due to the count’s apparent philandering. Figaro has quit barbering and is now the Count’s major-domo. He is engaged to Susanna, the Countess’s servant and confidante — and the Count’s intended conquest by the long abandoned “roi du seigneur” or “il diritto feudale”: the first feudal right of the master to take the young bride before her wedding night. Bartolo is back to seek revenge on Figaro for taking Rosina away from him, with the help of the music-master, Don Basilio. Adding to the drama are Cherubino, an amorous teenager, the scheming and jealous Marcellina, Antonio, a drunken gardener, and his pre-teen daughter, Barbarina. It all happens in one single day, the day of Figaro and Susanna’s marriage.
Mozart’s librettist, Lorenzo da Ponte, took this popular play, removed “political” content that would have offended the Viennese imperial censors (the French Revolution was only a few years away), and faithfully translated the rest into Italian — the customary opera language of the day. With Mozart’s masterpiece of a score, the result was a witty yet profound tale of love, betrayal, and forgiveness.