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The Marriage of Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro) is set in Count Almaviva’s castle 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 through Rossini’s great opera (Mozart’s opera premiered in 1786; Rossini’s premiered in 1816). In Le Barbier, Count Almaviva, with substantial help from Figaro, wooed and won the lovely Rosine away from her crusty old ward and would-be husband, Dr. Bartholo. In The Marriage of Figaro, Beaumarchais continued their story. The Count has married Rosine but their marriage has gone sour because of his philandering. Figaro has quit barbering and is now the Count’s major-domo. He is engaged to Suzanne, who is Countess Rosine’s maid — and the Count’s intended conquest. Old Bartholo is back to seek revenge on Figaro for taking Rosine away from him, with the help of the slimy music-master, Don Bazile. Adding to the fun are an amorous teenager, a scheming old maid, a drunken gardener, and a silly young girl. Much happens on a single “folle journée” — a crazy day. 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.
Running Time: 3 hours with intermission
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