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The Story

Figaro and Susanna are looking forward to their wedding day – but Figaro’s master Count Almaviva has designs on Susanna.

Read more… (Contains spoilers)

Background

Le nozze di Figaro was the first fruit of Mozart’s partnership with librettist Lorenzo da Ponte; they would go on to create Don Giovanni and Così fan tutte. For Figaro, Da Ponte adapted (perhaps at Mozart’s suggestion) Pierre Beaumarchais’ controversial play Le Mariage de Figaro, which at the time was banned in Vienna due to its seditious content. The opera was well received in Vienna but had only nine performances; its revival soon after in Prague was a tremendous success, and led to the commission of Don Giovanni. Figaro quickly entered the international repertory and has rarely been out of it since, admired as one of Mozart’s finest works.

David McVicar’s acclaimed production sets the action in a French château in 1830 on the eve of revolution, amplifying the opera’s undercurrents of class tension. The entire household is drawn into the notoriously complex plot, which covers all shades of human emotion: from spirited playfulness (such as ‘Non più andrai’, when Figaro cheerfully sends Cherubino off to war), to deep despair (such as the Countess’s grief at her husband’s infidelity in ‘Dove sono i bei momenti’). But affection and fidelity prevail in this most warm-hearted of operas: the Count’s plea for forgiveness in the final act, ‘Contessa, perdono’, is an especially moving moment.

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On Wikipedia

The Marriage of Figaro (Italian: Le nozze di Figaro, pronounced [le ˈnɔttse di ˈfiːɡaro]), K. 492, is an opera buffa (comic opera) in four acts composed in 1786 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with an Italian libretto written by Lorenzo Da Ponte. It premiered at the Burgtheater in Vienna on 1 May 1786. The opera's libretto is based on a stage comedy by Pierre Beaumarchais, La folle journée, ou le Mariage de Figaro (first performed in 1784).The Marriage of Figaro is now regarded as a cornerstone of the standard operatic repertoire, and it appears among the top ten at the Operabase list of the most-performed operas worldwide.

Abstract taken from the Wikipedia article The Marriage of Figaro, available under a Creative Commons license.