Music by W.A. Mozart
Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte
April 24, 26, 30, May 2, 2014, at 8 pm
Matinée May 4 at 2:30 pm
In Italian with English Surtitles
A riotous comedy with a revolutionary subtext, The Marriage of Figaro follows the Almaviva household through a single tumultuous day as Count Almaviva, his wife, his valet Figaro, and his servants spin a tangled web of love affairs, plots, and counterplots. The opera is based on the Beaumarchais play that caused an uproar in 18th century France for its subversive portrayal of uppity servants outwitting their aristocratic betters.
The opera charges along like Upstairs, Downstairs on steroids as the predatory Count tries to seduce Figaro's fiancée Susanna on her wedding day. But even as the Count receives his comeuppance, the opera becomes a poignant study of love, jealousy, and ultimate forgiveness.
Mozart's score is an absolute masterpiece, at once sunny and sublime, unrivalled for beauty, grace, and theatrical truth.
Discover – or rediscover – the sublime beauty of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro in these selections from Youtube.
San Diego OperaTalk! with Nick Reveles
San Diego Opera's Nick Reveles hosts this in-depth examination of Mozart's delightful comedy of manners.
Act 1: Cherubino: Non so più , cosa son cosa facio
Cherubino, the count's young male page, is discovering girls – and as a result he's in a constant state of delicious turmoil. Traditionally, Cherubino is a trousers role, i.e., a male role played by a female singer. Here Federica Von Stade is the ardent, confused Cherubino.
Non so più cosa son, cosa faccio,
or di foco, ora sono di ghiaccio
I no longer know what I am, what I do;
now I'm all fire, now all ice;
every woman changes my temperature, every
woman makes my heart beat faster.
The very mention of love, of delight,
disturbs me, changes my heart, and
speaking of love, forces on me a
desire I cannot restrain!
... I speak of love while I'm awake,
I speak of love while I'm sleeping,
to rivers, to shadows, to mountains,
to flowers, to grass, to fountains,
to echoes, to air, to winds,
until they carry away
the sound of my useless words.
... And if no one is near to hear me
I speak of love to myself.
From a 1980 production conducted by Georg Solti at Paris Opera Garnier.
Act 3: Sull'aria...che soave zeffiretto (the Letter Duet)
To expose the Count's infidelity, the Countess has Susanna write a letter inviting him to meet her for a tryst .
Che soave zeffiretto
Questa sera spirerà
Sotto i pini del boschetto.
A little song on the breeze
What a gentle little Zephyr
This evening will sigh
Under the pines in the little grove.
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa is the Countess, with Ileana Cotrubas as Susanna. John Pritchard conducts the London Philharmonic in this 1973 production from Glyndebourne.