Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro)
John Wells introduces the opera with a high-spirited account of the action-packed career of the author, in many respects the prototype of Figaro himself. Basil Deane explores the score: he shows that Mozart’s characters are illuminated here not so much in soliloquies but in their reactions to each other. Composer Stephen Oliver discusses how the comedy exists not just in the words but, essentially, in the music. The full Italian text is given, with a note on the order of scenes in Act Three and the alternative passages Mozart wrote for the 1789 revival. The classic translation of E.J. Dent is an excellent way to get to know the twists and turns of the plot and the stylish wit of da Ponte’s innuendos.
Contents: A Society Marriage, John Wells; A Musical Commentary, Basil Deane; Music and Comedy in ‘The Marriage of Figaro, Stephen Oliver; Beaumarchais’s Characters; Le nozze di Figaro: Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte; The Marriage of Figaro: English version by Edward J. Dent
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–91) was born in Salzburg, and began composing at the age of five. His subsequent prolific output included the great operas of his maturity, Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte and Die Zauberflöte.