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date: 23 October 2019

Nozze di Figaro, Le (‘The Marriage of Figaro’)locked

  • Julian Rushton

Extract

(‘The Marriage of Figaro’)

Opera buffa in four acts, K492, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to a libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte after Pierre-Augustin Beaumarchais’ play La folle journée, ou Le mariage de Figaro (1784, Paris); Vienna, Burgtheater, 1 May 1786.

The operatic version of Beaumarchais’ Le mariage de Figaro may have been a timely notion of Mozart’s own. Although the play was banned from the Viennese stage, it was available in print and Paisiello’s opera on the earlier play, Le barbier de Séville, had triumphed in Vienna in 1783 (and all over Europe). Mozart evidently studied Paisiello’s handling of the same personalities and included deliberate references to it (see Heartz 1987; see also Barbiere di Siviglia, Il). Composition began late in 1785 and the opera may have been drafted in only six weeks. After some opposition attributed to the Italians, and (if Da Ponte is to be believed) after the librettist had overcome the emperor’s objections, it was produced in May with an outstanding cast whose character and skills, as well as their performance in Paisiello’s ...

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