The Marriage of Figaro was written by M.A. Mozart in 1786 and is the second in the series of operas filmed in H.D. from the Metropolitan Opera in New York for the 2014-15 season. It is an opera buffo [comic opera] with a libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte who collaborated with Mozart on a number of operas. To quote Johannes Brahms 'in my opinion each number in this opera is a miracle: it is totally beyond me how anyone could create anything so perfect, nothing like it was ever done again, not even by Beethoven'. This production without a doubt echoes these words.
W. A. Mozart [1756-1791 played the piano from the age of 3, wrote his first composition at the age of 5 and made his first public appearance at age of 6. His musical output numbered over 650 works during his short life influencing all who followed him. I first saw this opera in 1964 and many times since, but never have I seen a production to equal this one. Every detail is perfect, one might think Visconti had been the artistic director.
A cast of 11 singers/actors together with the resident chorus, that only the Met. can afford, create this magic. Who steals the show? It could be [Isabel Leonard] Cherubino, the lovesick boy going through the agony of puberty, [Peter Mattei] Count Almarviva, the cheating husband with the charm of Clarke Gable or [Amanda Majeski] the Countess who is grieving the loss of the love of her husband with the most heart breaking aria 'Porgi Amor' . Not to leave out [Marlis Peterson] Susanna and her schemes or [Ilgar Abdrazakov] Figaro who finally gets his bride.
James Levine, affectionately called 'Jimmy' by all at the Met, joined as principal conductor in 1971 and has conducted this opera 75 times. It is his favourite of all the operas he has conducted, which number a staggering 2,498. Productions have changed over the years, from stilted scene changes to an opera that flows through the 4 hours while the audience dissolves with laughter. The stage revolves every which way around the house. The time has been changed to 1930, a time of lose morals and delicious fashions. Mozart would be proud of the work of the producer, Sir Richard Eyre.
The next in the series of operas from the Met. is Carmen for 4 performances starting from December 6th. You need to check the Dendy site for times as they vary.