David McVicar’s spellbinding production of Le nozze di Figaro is set in 1830s post-revolution France, where the inexorable unravelling of an old order has produced acute feelings of loss. In the relationship between Finley’s suave, dashingly self-absorbed Count and Röschmann’s passionately dignified Countess, which lies at the tragic heart of the opera, the sexy ease between a feisty Figaro (Erwin Schrott) and a sassy Susanna (Miah Persson) is starkly absent, the tenacious spark between Marcellina (Graciela Araya) and Bartolo (Jonathan Veira) suggesting what might be rekindled.
This new, excitingly original production of Mozart's most popular opera was the sensation of the 2006 Salzburg Festival. "What young director Claus Guth has made of Figaro - with Harnoncourt's active collaboration - is genius … The stellar cast performed with power and precision …" (Le Monde). "…a fully rounded musical performance…By and large the opera could hardly be more strongly cast. Anna Netrebko is a dreamy, vulnerable and beautifully sung Susanna, and Ildebrando D'Arcangelo's smouldering Figaro is a really macho rival to the Count.” (Gramophone)
David McVicar’s spellbinding production of Le nozze di Figaro is set in 1830s post-revolution France, where the inexorable unravelling of an old order has produced acute feelings of loss. In the relationship between Finley’s suave, dashingly self-absorbed Count and Röschmann’s passionately dignified Countess, which lies at the tragic heart of the opera, the sexy ease between a feisty Figaro (Erwin Schrott) and a sassy Susanna (Miah Persson) is starkly absent, the tenacious spark between Marcellina (Graciela Araya) and Bartolo (Jonathan Veira) suggesting what might be rekindled. The production is superbly complemented by the beauty of Paule Constable’s lighting and Tanya McCallin’s evocative sets. Antonio Pappano conducts (and accompanies the recitatives) with invigorating wit and emotional depth.
Charming, lighthearted and fizzing with subversive wit, Neil Armfield's sparkling production of The Marriage of Figaro masterfully captures Mozart's most popular comedic opera. In this classic performance, recorded live at the Sydney Opera House, Patrick Summers conducts an energetic fresh-voiced cast, headed up by baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Taryn Feibig who make a vivacious, appealing pairing as Figaro and Susanna, while Peter Coleman-Wright triumphs as the lascivious Count Almaviva.
Perhaps no opera is closely and affectionately associated with a single house as Le nozze di Figaro is with Glyndebourne. Effortlessly witty yet shot through with pain and sadness, this deeply ambivalent life in the day of masters and servants as they scheme and outwit one another was Glyndebourne's opening production in 1934. Michael Grandage's staging is the seventh, set in a louche Sixties ambience. Marshalled by the 'ideal pacing of Robin Ticciati, a youthful cast of principals has 'no weak link' and 'looks gorgeous' (The Sunday Times) in a production that continues Glyndebourne's rewarding history of engagement with Mozart's and da Ponte's 'day of madness'.
From the opening notes of the overture to the final curtain, Emilio Sagi’s classic, triumphant production fully brings to life all the elegant wit and theatricality of Mozart’s comic masterpiece.
Leading baritone Ludovic Tézier shines as the lustful Count Almaviva who attempts to obtain the favours of Figaro’s bride-to-be, Susanna (Isabel Rey), while Luca Pisaroni gives a feisty performance as Figaro. Conductor Jesús López Cobos masterfully captures the enchanting score. A witty yet profound tale of love, betrayal, and forgiveness.
In 1988 when this period-instrument Figaro was released, the style was still a novelty, and Ostman gained some notoreity for his rushed tempos as well as the scrawniness of his chamber orchestra, by far the smallest to play this great opera on CD. Yet when I read a glowing review by Andrew Porter in the New Yorker, I immediately bought the performance, shortly discovering that it was a true gem in the extensive Figaro catalog.
By Santa Fe Listener
In his 2003 production for the Maggio Musicale in Florence, director Jonathan Miller invested the complex relationships between the characters with countless tiny erotic charges and even obvious sexual symbols. The artistic director of the renowned Maggio Musicale festival Zubin Mehta brings out not only the tension and drive of the music but also its harmonic richness. The singers all belong to the international opera scene and not only provide excellent vocal quality but also strong acting skills, which help to tell the gripping story with its many disguises, mix-ups and discoveries: Russian soprano Eteri Gvazava internationally recognised since her sensational Traviata à Paris filming partnering José Cura is wonderful to watch and to hear in the role of the sad but contriving Countess Almaviva. Patrizia Ciofi, the Italian belcanto star is Susanna with all her intriguing acting skills and her pointed vocal intensity. Lucio Gallo who plays the evil character in this plot is one of the foremost Italian baritones. The title role is sung by Giorgio Surian, a bass-baritone who started off on the Italian opera scene, but has since made a steady career on international opera stages.
The Marriage of Figaro, as this elegant 1994 production brilliantly reminds us, was a French bedroom comedy before it became a Mozart opera. It is a classic of French literature, and it is still enjoyable as a spoken play after more than two centuries of existence. Its literary quality gives this production a special flavor. The music–some of Mozart's finest–is beautifully presented by a carefully chosen international cast (including Giovanni Furlanetto, Elzbieta Szymtka, Janice Watson, and Ludovic Tezier), but what sets this production apart is its theatrical flavor, cultivated by a director who is an expert on classic French theater. The standards of spoken theater are upheld in timing, body language, the inflection of punch lines. These qualities are more important here than in most operas; style is both crucial and elusive. Fortunately, the Opera de Lyon, one of most imaginative companies in Europe, shows an impressive sense of style. (Joe McLellan)
This luxuriously cast film of Mozart's beloved opera buffa features a host of legendary interpretations, including Kiri Te Kanawa's exquisite Countess Almaviva, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau as her philandering husband, Hermann Prey as the wily title character, Mirella Freni, a delight as his no less savvy bride Susanna, and Maria Ewing, hilarious as the lovesick page Cherubino. Director Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's imaginative camera-work tellingly emphasizes character and mood in this immortal story of love, intrigue and class struggle, set against the historical background of ancien regime Europe sliding inexorably towards revolution.