An exceptional ensemble of performers—including Ailyn Pérez, Nadine Sierra, Isabel Leonard, Luca Pisaroni, Mariusz Kwiecien, and Ildar Abdrazakov—share the stage in Mozart’s comic yet profound look at human nature and one crazy day in a wealthy Spanish household. Acclaimed Mozartean maestro Harry Bicket conducts Richard Eyre’s high-spirited production.
World premiere: Burgtheater, Vienna, 1786. Met premiere: January 31, 1894. A profoundly humane comedy, Le Nozze di Figaro is a remarkable marriage of Mozart’s music at the height of his genius and one of the best librettos ever set. In adapting a play that caused a scandal with its revolutionary take on 18th-century society, librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte focused less on the original topical references and more on the timeless issues embedded in the frothy drawing-room comedy.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791) was the son of a Salzburg court musician who exhibited him as a musical prodigy throughout Europe. His achievements in opera, in terms of beauty, vocal challenge, and dramatic insight, remain unsurpassed. Librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte (1749–1838), who led an adventurous life in Venice and Vienna, also collaborated with Mozart on Don Giovanni and Così fan tutte. He later emigrated to America, where he became the first professor of Italian at New York’s Columbia College (now University).
Sir Richard Eyre – Production
Paule Constable – Lighting Designer
Set & Costume Designer – Rob Howell
Choreographer – Sara Erde
Seville, the setting of Figaro and its prequel, The Barber of Seville, was famous in Mozart’s time as a place filled with hot-blooded young men and exotically beautiful women sequestered behind latticed windows, or “jalousies” (which gave us our English word “jealousy”). The city was the birthplace of the Don Juan legends, which Mozart and Da Ponte would mine for their subsequent masterpiece Don Giovanni. The current Met production of Le Nozze di Figaro places the action in the 1930s.
Harry Bicket – Conductor
Rachel Willis-Sorsensen – Countess Almaviva
Ailyn Perez – Countess Almaviva
Caitlin Lynch – Countess Almaviva
Christiane Karg – Susanna
Nadine Sierra – Susanna
Serena Malfi – Cherubino
Isabel Leonard – Cherubino
Luca Pisaroni – Count Almaviva
Mariusz Kwiecien – Count Almaviva
Adam Plachetka – Figaro
Ildar Abdrazakov – Figaro
Figaro’s amazing score mirrors the complex world it depicts. The first impression is one of tremendous beauty and elegance. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find all the underlying pain and deception, with a constant tension between the social classes and the sexes, where each character has something to gain and something to hide. Standout solo numbers include the Countess’s two arias, Cherubino’s “Voi, che sapete,” Susanna’s “Deh, vieni, non tardar,” and Figaro’s arias, the angry Act IV diatribe against womankind, “Aprite un po’ quegli occhi,” and Act I’s “Non più andrai,” in which not even the most buoyant and memorable melody in the world can quite hide the character’s sarcasm.
Le Nozze di Figaro established itself in the Met repertoire with the 1940 revival starring Ezio Pinza in the title role. The quintessential ensemble opera, it has seen memorable appearances by some of the world’s greatest singers, including Lisa Della Casa and Kiri Te Kanawa as the Countess, Risë Stevens and Mildred Miller as Cherubino, Bidú Sayão and Irmgard Seefried as Susanna, Hermann Prey and Peter Mattei as the Count, and Cesare Siepi, James Morris, and Bryn Terfel as Figaro