A different Figaro wedding at the Royal Theater

The Marriage of Figaro

A different Figaro wedding at the Royal Theater

The Marriage of Figaro
The Marriage of Figaro
Wolfgang A. Mozart (1756-1791)
Opera buffa in four acts
Libreto de Lorenzo da Ponte, based on the comedy La Folle journée, or the marriage of Figaro (1784) of Pierre Beaumarchais
Canadian Opera Company production from the Salzburg Festival
Teatro Real in Madrid, 28 April 2022
D. musical: Ivor Bolton
D. scene: Claus Guth
Scenographer and costume designer: Christian Schmidt
illuminator: Olaf winter
Choreographer: Ramses Sigi
Video Designer: Andi A. Müller
D. choir: Andrés Máspero
André Schuen, María José Moreno, Julie Fuchs, Vito Priante, Rachael Wilson, Monica Pods, Fernando Rado, Christopher Mountain, Moises Marin, Alexandra Flood, Leonardo Galeazzi, and Uli Kirsch, who interprets the angel
Eleven years had passed since his last Italian comedy, La Finta Giardiniera (The fake gardener) and Mozart was concerned that he could not find a suitable story for his next comedy. He reflects it in one of the letters to his father in 1783, “I have looked at more than a hundred scripts, and I haven't found one that I was satisfied with; so many changes would have to be made here and there, that even if a poet got down to it, it would be easier for him to write a completely new text”.
Headlines Choir and Orchestra of the Teatro Real

Then come to Vienna, hand in hand with Antonio Salieri to work at the court, Italian librettist and poet Lorenzo da Ponte. A fruitful collaboration then begins between Mozart and da Ponte that will leave behind the time of Metastasio. A new operatic journey opens that will have no return.

Mozart showed some admiration for the works of the French playwright Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais and for one of his works, the figaro trilogy, for whose first part, The Barber of Seville (1782), Giovanni Paisiello had already put music. He chose the second of this trilogy, The crazy day, or The Marriage of Figaro (1784), which explicitly deals with the class conflicts of the time.

Beaumarchais's work, whose theatrical release was full of difficulties due to the social and political criticism it contained, can be framed within the revolutionary process that culminates in 1789 with the French Revolution. After three years of fighting with censorship, Figaro's weddings could be premiered arriving at 60 representations. But the protests and intrigues of former enemies of Beaumarchais, got the play banned across Europe.

As narrated by da Ponte in his memoirs, the opera was finished in just six weeks, “As I was writing the lyrics, Mozart composed the music. It only remained to convince José II of his suitability. da Ponte took care of it, much more diplomatic than Mozart, who promised the emperor to dispense with the most controversial parts. Entire scenes were deleted, but the ideological substance remained intact.

The liberal mentality of José II, that he had already abolished censorship and authorized a civil marriage decree that abolished parental consent, facilitated the premiere of an opera that, by having a comedy format, Kind and nice, he hid his depth charge very well.

He 1 May 1786 se estrena por fin en Viena The Marriage of Figaro, preamble of Don Giovanni and, especially, de Cosi fan all, that closes the cycle of the brilliant collaboration between Mozart and da Ponte.

Le nozze di Figaro is today one of the most performed operas in the world, even though it wasn't always like that. Arrive soon at the Royal Theater, in 1903, long before other European theaters. Later it had a few years of certain decline in programming and it was not until the sixties that, shyly, returned to operatic seasons.

The Teatro Real presents this season a production that is a true classic, the one created by Claus Guth for the Salzburg Festival in 2006, which replaces the one initially announced by Lotte de Beer and which was not very well received, being generous, at the Aix-on-Provence Festival.

Guth reuses the great architectural structures that he likes so much. Features a grand staircase in a large space as the only stage. a white decor, naked, far from the eighteenth-century excesses that usually accompany the performances of this opera. Christian Schmidt's wardrobe, also very Guth-esque, as we could see in Rodelinda, in this same theater, gray tones and uniformed. The subtle scene changes are mostly due to Olaf Winter's lighting., that it generates with shadows and small projections, the atmospheres that help describe the scene.

Also on this occasion, Guth uses a character that is not in the script but that appears constantly on the scene. This time it is a kind of Cupid that, invisible to other characters, pull everyone's strings trying to alter their behavior, sowing confusion in its wake.

The characters are treated in this production in a sober way, unadorned, revealing the deepest part of his personality. But nevertheless, the end result of the scenery is that it does not help the development or the conclusion of the story.

Ivor Bolton returned to conduct Mozart at the head of the Teatro Real's Titular Orchestra. Maybe infected by the monotonous scenery, Bolton's management has not had the brilliance and spark of other occasions. Only in a few moments have those flashes that Mozart reflected so brilliantly in his score become present.

This work is distinguished from other buffa operas by the high quality of its ensembles., that express the enormous variety of loving feelings. On this occasion they are a little opaque and lacking in freshness. The variety of textures of an orchestration as detailed as that offered by The Marriage of Figaro is not appreciated, especially in the opening and the winds.
The best of the orchestra have been the recitativi secchi, harpsichord and cello, that have allowed the scenes to be more fluid.

The vocal part has presented a balanced set of voices. To face this opera the theatrical requirement is almost at the same level as the vocal. But in this case, Besides, good physical shape is necessary.

It was a joy to see the Granada-born María José Moreno embody the role of Countess at the Royal Theater. did it with great confidence, how does she do things. Is this a little special Countess, languid and lonely, and Moreno reflected her very well in those aspects to which she adds a point of sophistication that is very appropriate to the character. He had moments of great lyricism and brilliance, especially in his two most important arias, "Porgi Amor" y "Where I am". It has a powerful center and good highs..

Suzanne, the central character of the play, was interpreted by the French Julie Fuchs. His voice is light and fresh, perfect for Susan, he lacked volume and made his character more believable, maybe too childish.

Vito Priante's Figaro was also not very credible as Susana's fiancé, he looked like his father. Very static on stage, something was lost with his character, which had been stripped of its true character by the stage manager. But his voice is high quality and has a beautiful and warm tone..

Italian baritone André Schuuen plays Count Almaviva. We could already hear him at the Capriccio a few seasons ago. He feels comfortable in character, although it lacks a bit of packaging and looks like a teenager in a suit. It defended the treble quite well and its bass zone is sufficient and consistent.

Rachael Wilson's Cherubino was, with the Countess, the best of the night. Fresh and playful in the interpretive, proved to have a good singing line and a very powerful and ringing center and treble. Too bad she was dressed the same as the fake Cherubino that Guth put on stage. He skillfully developed, the same one with which he interpreted his arias “Non so più cosa son, what do I do "y" You who know ".

At a good level were the rest of the comprimarios who in this production were somewhat lackluster in the interpretive, Monica Pods, as Marceline; Fernando Rado, as Bartolo; Christopher Mountain, like basil; Moises Marin, Don Curzio; Alexandra Flood, like Barbarina; Leonardo Galeazzi, as Antonio and Uli Kirsch, who interprets the angel or cupid.

A new reading of an opera that for the first time gives the score a fundamental role in the development of the dramatic plot.

Text: Paloma Sanz
pictures: Javier del Real
Videos: Teatro Real