Wednesday, 20 August 2008

148. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - The Marriage Of Figaro (Le Nozze Di Figaro) (1786)


Title: Le Nozze Di Figaro
Performers: Alastair Miles, Nuccia Focile etc.
Director: Charles Mackerras
Year: 1994
Length: 3 hours 30 minutes (3 CDs)


I can say with very little doubts that this is the best opera we have had on the list up until now, the only one that might rival it is the great Cesare by Handel and even so... this beats it hands down.

There are several reasons for this, the libretto is brilliant, with a level of plot complexity and a sense of fun unlike any before, the characters even if there are something like 11 singing parts are all well rounded, even if it is the longest opera we have had here it is never boring.

Then you have amazing music to complement it, some arias are very famous other aren't but are just equally as good, there is not a wasted moment in the whole thing. If I could point to one thing it is a certain excess of secco recitative, but that would be nit-picking. Fun, beautiful and pretty much near perfect.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Lorenzo da Ponte wrote a preface to the first published version of the libretto, in which he boldly claimed that he and Mozart had created a new form of music drama:

In spite ... of every effort ... to be brief, the opera will not be one of the shortest to have appeared on our stage, for which we hope sufficient excuse will be found in the variety of threads from which the action of this play [i.e. Beaumarchais's] is woven, the vastness and grandeur of the same, the multiplicity of the musical numbers that had to be made in order not to leave the actors too long unemployed, to diminish the vexation and monotony of long recitatives, and to express with varied colours the various emotions that occur, but above all in our desire to offer as it were a new kind of spectacle to a public of so refined a taste and understanding.

Charles Rosen (in The Classical Style) proposes to take da Ponte's words quite seriously, noting the "richness of the ensemble writing", which carries forward the action in a far more dramatic way than recitatives would. Rosen also suggests that the musical language of the classical style was adapted by Mozart to convey the drama: many sections of the opera musically resemble sonata form; by movement through a sequence of keys, they build up and resolve musical tension, providing a natural musical reflection of the drama. As Rosen says:

The synthesis of accelerating complexity and symmetrical resolution which was at the heart of Mozart's style enabled him to find a musical equivalent for the great stage works which were his dramatic models. The Marriage of Figaro in Mozart's version is the dramatic equal, and in many respects the superior, of Beaumarchais's work.

Che Soave Zeffiretto pu to good use in Shawshank Redemption:

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