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Le Nozze di Figaro
Le Nozze Di Figaro Poster
Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte
Premiered Burgtheater in Venice on 1 May 1786

Le nozze di Figaro, ossia la folle giornata (The Marriage of Figaro, or The Day of Madness), K. 492, is an opera buffa (comic opera) composed in 1786 in four acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with a libretto in Italian by Lorenzo Da Ponte, based on a stage comedy by Pierre Beaumarchais, La folle journée, ou le Mariage de Figaro (1784). Beaumarchais's earlier play The Barber of Seville had already made a successful transition to opera in a version by Paisiello. Although Beaumarchais's Marriage of Figaro was at first banned in Vienna because of its licentiousness, Mozart's librettist managed to get official approval for an operatic version which eventually achieved great success.

Composition Edit

Roles Edit

The voice types which appear in this table are those listed in the original libretto. In modern performance practice, Cherubino is usually assigned to a mezzo-soprano (sometimes also Marcellina), Count Almaviva to a baritone, and Figaro to a bass-baritone.[1] Mozart (and his contemporaries) never used the terms "mezzo-soprano" or "baritone". Women's roles were listed as either "soprano" or "contralto", while men's roles were listed as either "tenor" or "bass". Many of Mozart's baritone and bass-baritone roles derive from the basso buffo tradition, where no clear distinction was drawn between bass and baritone, a practice that continued well into the 19th century. Similarly, mezzo-soprano as a distinct voice type was a 19th century development.[2] Modern re-classifications of the voice types for Mozartian roles have been based on analysis of contemporary descriptions of the singers who created those roles and their other repertoire, and on the role's tessitura in the score. Changes in role assignment can also result from modern preferences for contrasts in vocal timbre between two major characters, e.g. Fiordiligi and Dorabella in Così fan tutte. Both roles were written for sopranos, although the slightly more low-lying role of Dorabella is now often sung by a mezzo.[3]

Role Voice type Premiere cast, 1 May 1786
(Conductor: W.A. Mozart)
Count AlmavivabaritoneStefano Mandini
Countess Rosina AlmavivasopranoLuisa Laschi
Susanna, the countess's maidsopranoAnn Storace
Figaro, personal valet to the countBass-baritoneFrancesco Benucci
Cherubino, the Count's pagesopranoDorotea Bussani
MarcellinasopranoMaria Mandini
Bartolo, doctor from Seville, also a practising lawyerbassFrancesco Bussani
Basilio, music mastertenorMichael Kelly
Don Curzio, judgetenorMichael Kelly
Barbarina, Antonio's daughtersopranoAnna Gottlieb
Antonio, the Count's gardener, Susanna's unclebassFrancesco Bussani
Chorus of peasants, villagers, and servants

Plot Edit

Overture Edit

Act 1 Edit

Act 2 Edit

Act 3 Edit

Act 4 Edit

References Edit

  1. Robinson (1986) p. 173; Chanan (1999) p. 63; Singher and Singher (2003) p. 150
  2. Jander, Steane, Forbes, Harris, and Waldman (2001)
  3. See Jackson (2005) pp. 458–459; Gutman (2001) p. 704
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