Inspired by folk, rock, country, and bluegrass, the London-based, platinum-selling Mumford & Sons feature singer/guitarist/drummer Marcus Mumford, vocalist and banjo/Dobro player Winston Marshall, vocalist/keyboardist Ben Lovett, and vocalist/bassist Ted Dwane. The foursome started playing together in 2007; though they were playing with other bands at the time, they bonded over their shared love of rootsy music.
Who could blame Mumford & Sons for running away from their signature banjo stomp? Come 2015, when Wilder Mind saw spring release, so many bands had copped their big-footed folk jamboree that Mumford & Sons could feel the straitjacket constricting, so it's not a surprise that the group decided to try on something new. A change in fashion isn't strange – no band wants to be pigeonholed – but the odd thing about Wilder Mind is now that everybody else sounds like Mumford & Sons, Mumford & Sons decide to sound like everybody else.
When this staging was presented in 1992, in various theatres, Gardiner decided to be his own director because he didn't trust any available alternative to be faithful to Da Ponte's and Mozart's original. In the circumstances his was a sensible decision because his deeply discerning stage interpretation perfectly seconds his own musically perceptive reading. His keen understanding of what this endlessly fascinating work is about is made plain in his absorbing essay in the booklet.