Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Le nozze di Figaro

4 October - 8 December 2012
Tour 2012

The entire action of Mozart’s life-enhancing opera takes place within a single day; a day of madness as the subtitle of the original text describes it. Figaro and Susanna’s determination to marry enrages their master, the Count, reducing him to a state of lustful frustration, disregarding his wife, the Countess, who is left to suff er the miseries of unrequited love. In a breathless circle of plots and counter-plots, the Count pursues Susanna, the young and hormonally volcanic Cherubino pursues anything in a skirt and the scheming pair of Bartolo and Marcellina come close to upsetting Figaro’s plans but are caught in a web of their own devising. 

Conceived by the brilliantly scurrilous writer Beaumarchais in 1784 as a barbed satire on the aristocracy, the original play was repeatedly banned from performance in the years leading up to the French Revolution. It was considered to be dangerously incendiary and to Mozart and his librettist Da Ponte it proved irresistible, inspiring them to create an opera of unrivalled beauty and acutely perceptive characterisation. 

Transferring direct from the 2012 Festival, this is a new production from celebrated director Michael Grandage, returning to Glyndebourne following his critically acclaimed Billy Budd (2010).

“...a fine show, and well worth catching” says the Guardian.

“…pure delight” says the Daily Express.

A new production from the 2012 Festival

Sung in Italian with English supertitles

Listen to Le nozze di Figaro podcast (20 mins)

A guide to Glyndebourne’s signature opera, Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, with music from the live recording of our 1962 production. Presenter Peggy Reynolds explores the historical context of the opera, the politics behind its humour, and Mozart’s sublime music of rage and forgiveness. (Producer: Mair Bosworth)

Download this podcast (right click and select 'Save file as')

Act I

While his fiancée Susanna tries on a wedding bonnet, Figaro measures a room which she is dismayed to discover has been offered them by the Count. She points out its dangerous proximity should he seek her out during her husband’s absence; his offer of a dowry is in exchange for his ancient feudal rights. Figaro swears to frustrate him. 

As he leaves, his old enemy Bartolo and Bartolo’s former servant Marcellina enter, the latter with a marriage contract between her and Figaro to which they intend to hold him. Susanna’s entrance gives Marcellina the opportunity for some spiteful muttering. The two square up for a verbal combat. 

The page Cherubino turns up, miserable that he is to be sent away because the Count found him dallying with the gardener’s daughter, Barbarina. Seeing the Count approach, he hides behind a chair. 

The Count presses his proposal upon Susanna. Her gossipy singing teacher Basilio’s arrival forces him to hide behind the chair while Cherubino moves into it and is hidden beneath Susanna’s dress. Basilio’s mention of Cherubino gazing longingly at the Countess draws the Count out of hiding; demonstrating how he discovered Cherubino in Barbarina’s room, he finds him yet again! 

He is interrupted by the arrival of Figaro and a group of peasants praising him for abolishing the droit de seigneur. The Count sends Cherubino off to join his regiment.

 

Act II

The Countess laments her husband’s neglect. Susanna explains his financial offer. Figaro intends to send a cross-dressed Cherubino to meet the Count instead. Arriving in poor spirits, the page is prepared by Susanna for his meeting with the Count; she leaves to fetch her dress. As the Countess teases Cherubino about his crush on her, the Count’s arrival causes him to hide in the closet. Cherubino knocks something over; the Countess says it is Susanna who, unobserved, returns and hides behind a screen.

The Count demands that Susanna come out. He goes to fetch tools to open the door -- taking the Countess with him. Susanna releases Cherubino who escapes through the window while she enters the closet. Returning with her husband, the Countess confesses that Cherubino is inside. Both are nonplussed when Susanna emerges.

Figaro arrives. The gardener Antonio bursts in complaining about someone jumping from the window; Figaro claims it was him. The Count is relieved to see Bartolo, Marcellina and Basilio enter demanding that Figaro marry Marcellina or repay his debt. All ends in confusion.

 

Act III

In the hall laid out for festivities, the Count takes the opportunity to renew his proposal to Susanna. She appears to agree, until the Count overhears her telling Figaro that they have won their case. 

Alone, the Countess ponders her unhappy marriage. Meanwhile the court case to decide on Marcellina’s contract has been resolved in her favour. Figaro plays one last card – stolen as a baby from a respectable family, he requires his parents’ consent. In his description of his history and birthmark, Marcellina recognises Figaro as her long-lost son; Bartolo is his father. The family is reunited and Susanna and Marcellina reconciled.

Susanna and the Countess write to the Count inviting him to an assignation; a pin must be returned as acknowledgement. A group of peasant girls arrives offering flowers to the Countess; among them she recognises Cherubino; unfortunately, so does the Count. Slyly spilling the beans on the Count’s relationship with her, Barbarina’s plea for Cherubino to marry her forces him to agree. The wedding celebrations begin. Surreptitiously, Susanna passes the letter to the Count.

 

Act IV

That night in the garden, Barbarina laments losing the pin she was supposed to return to Susanna. Figaro and Marcellina realise its significance. Figaro prepares to interrupt the meeting.  Marcellina decides to forewarn Susanna. 

Barbarina enters and hides, soon followed by Figaro and his witnesses Bartolo and Basilio.  Disguised in each other’s clothes, Susanna and the Countess enter to ensnare the Count. 

Cherubino turns up, seeking Barbarina, but seeing (as he thinks) Susanna, he takes the opportunity to flirt with her. He is violently replaced by the Count before ‘Susanna’ makes her excuses. All is mayhem as the disguises confuse both the Count and (initially) Figaro, who is apparently caught trying to seduce the Countess.

The Count calls for arms. He refuses to forgive ‘the Countess’ for her infidelity until the real Countess enters and dumbfounds him. Begging forgiveness, he is pardoned.

Words: George Hall

Creative team

Conductor Jonathan Cohen
Ilyich Rivas (25 Oct; 3, 8, 17 Nov; 1 Dec)
Director Michael Grandage
Revival Director Ian Rutherford
Designer Christopher Oram
Lighting Designer Paule Constable
Movement Director Ben Wright
Revival Movement Director Kieran Sheehan

Cast

Figaro Guido Loconsolo
Derek Welton (25 Oct; 3, 8, 17 Nov; 1 Dec)
Susanna Joélle Harvey (4 - 23, 27 - 30 Oct; 1, 6, 10, 13, 15 Nov)
Anna Devin (25 Oct; 3, 8, 20, 24, 27, 29 Nov; 5, 8 Dec) 
Ellie Laugharne (17 Nov; 1 Dec)
Countess Layla Claire
Sarah-Jane Brandon (25 Oct; 3, 8, 17 Nov; 1 Dec)
Count John Moore
Dawid Kimberg (25 Oct; 3, 8, 17 Nov; 1 Dec)
Bartolo Andrew Slater
Marcellina Jean Rigby
Cherubino Kathryn Rudge
Don Basilio Daniel Norman
Antonio Sion Goronwy
Barbarina Ellie Laugharne
Keri Fuge (17 Nov; 1 Dec)

The Glyndebourne Tour Orchestra
The Glyndebourne Chorus

Guido Loconsolo as Figaro and Joélle Harvey as Susanna in the 2012 Tour production of Le nozze di Figaro. Photo: Bill Cooper
Kathryn Rudge as Cherubino in the 2012 Tour production of Le nozze di Figaro. Photo: Bill Cooper
Daniel Norman as Don Basilio, John Moore as Count Almaviva and Joélle Harvey as Susanna, Tour 2012.  Photo: Bill Cooper
Jean Rigby as Marcellina in the 2012 Tour production of Le nozze di Figaro. Photo: Bill Cooper
Joélle Harvey as Susanna in the 2012 Tour production of Le nozze di Figaro. Photo: Bill Cooper
John Moore as Count Almaviva in the 2012 Tour production of Le nozze di Figaro. Photo: Bill Cooper
John Moore as Count Almaviva and Joélle Harvey as Susanna in the 2012 Tour production of Le nozze di Figaro. Photo: Bill Cooper
Joélle Harvey, Guido Loconsolo, Andrew Slater and Jean Rigby. 2012 Tour production of Le nozze di Figaro. Photo: Bill Cooper
Layla Claire as Countess Almaviva and John Moore as Count Almaviva in the 2012 Tour production. Photo: Bill Cooper
Joélle Harvey as Susanna and Guido Loconsolo as Figaro in the 2012 Tour production of Le nozze di Figaro. Photo: Bill Cooper
Charlotte Beament as First Bridesmaid in the 2012 Tour production of Le nozze di Figaro. Photo: Bill Cooper
Layla Claire as Countess Almaviva in the 2012 Tour production. Photo: Bill Cooper
Guido Loconsolo as Figaro and Jean Rigby as Marcellina in the 2012 Tour production of Le nozze di Figaro. Photo: Bill Cooper
Ellie Laughharne as Barbarina and Kathryn Rudge as Cherubino in the Tour 2012 Le nozze di Figaro. Photo: Bill Cooper
Guido Loconsolo as Figaro in the 2012 Tour production of Le nozze di Figaro. Photo: Bill Cooper

Comments

I saw this at The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury on 20th Nov during the 2012 tour. A superb performance, with 4 stand out leads who clearly relished their roles. The set was just right, the Tour Orchestra & Chorus marvelous. All in all a wonderful evening of top quality opera.

Having read the FT review I did not have high expectations but the production was a wonderful surprise. The acting level was good and combined with very good singing made for an enjoyable evening. You could sense that the audience was enjoying it (no fidgeting despite the very long first half) and the cast responded well. At one third the price of a performance at Glyndebourne, wonderful value.

I agree with the last commentator.I cannot see the point of wrenching an opera out of the eighteenth century because like any sumptuous historical novel it gives us a fasinating window into life in those times this is sadly lost when you try and mix this up.
I cringed I am afraid to say see a woman playing Cherubino it looked very silly and stupid.
Susanna and the Countess stole the show with their beautiful voices.The set set in Seville was magnificent

Thought it was a cracking production.. Loved the 60s/70s style of clothes and the entire company's tendency to slip into disco style dancing.
It all added to the fun of a smashing opera.

My favourite setting of Figaro to date, (the 7th time I have seen Figaro) with stunning performances from Susanna and the Contessa - I loved this so much that I will be travelling to see a second performance elsewhere on the tour. Congratulations to the director and all singers - the usual excellent standard that has made Glyndebourne so famous and well regarded has been maintained once again.

We loved Le nozze di Figaro at Norwich last night. The cast and orchestra were fantastic but Anna Devin's "Susanna" was simply superb. She has an exquisite voice and her acting was a joy to watch. A special mention for the set. I know from watching the video how much work went into designing and manufacturing it but it was well worth the effort as it looked magnificent and added so much to the overall experience. Thank you.

This was a most enjoyable evening and a lovely production, beautifully sung.

I greatly enjoyed Nozze di Figaro on October 14. A really excellent cast, and a charming and clever production

We thought we had experienced the best that Glydebourne could offer but Figaro topped this. Where do you go from here? We would like to thank you for the addition of the winter screens on the upper terrace it made our Autumn visit and picnic a better treat.

This was my first visit and only my second opera. I cannot think of any experience I have had that can match this. The singing, the acting, the orchestra were all superb. And I liked the updated setting. After two days I am still buzzing. My favourites were Suzannah and the Count. I hope to come again. Thank you.

Music was sublime but once again the staging and costumes were disappointing. Opera is about spectacle and the strange 50's to 70's costumes, together with old fashioned peasant dresses, did not hang together or add anything to this brilliant farce. It did look like Grandma's dressing up box had been raided.

Great fun, beautifully sung and acted by the cast and wonderfully played by the orchestra. The staging and lighted met the highest standards trypical of Glyndebourne. This production was moving to an extennt I had thought was impossible in such a familiar work.

we loved the performance! it was really worth the rather complicated travelling by squeezyjet to England...well doen, very good singers. we admired Figaro's voice!

First experience of Glyndebourne & really loved it. Production was full of energy and colour and the singers were excellent. Will definitely come again.

On the whole, a lovely production: wonderful set; beautiful singing and a great atmosphere.
Personally, I'm not sure if the 60's interpretation added anything to the opera. In some ways it came across as silly and actually detracted from an otherwise excellent performance. The Royal Opera House's production of a few years ago - set in period costume, still remains the reference work for this opera for me.

A visit to Glyndebourne is always a treat; a performance of The Marriage of Figaro, surely the most sublime of operas, always promises a wonderful evening in the theatre. The production by GTO which I enjoyed on Saturday must be one of the finest I have seen and will live long in my memory.

As many have commented, the singing, music and acting were all of the high standard one expects at Glyndebourne. What made this production special for me were the accurate casting and the precision of the story telling. Figaro is so intricately plotted, but each twist and nuance was lit with beautiful clarity.

I am intruiged to read that others disliked the setting in 1960’s Spain. Whilst I cannot abide gimmicky re-stagings which have no relevance to the work, I have no truck with those who insist that operas can only be set in their “original” period.

Spain under the rule of Franco is a perfect background to this piece. For beneath the comedy and romance, Figaro is a story of the abuse of power: masters over their servants, men over women, the old over the young. What makes it eventually a comedy rather than a tragedy is that each of these oppressors is over-turned in one way or another by the end of the evening.

No-one in the Glyndebourne audience today has first-hand experience of pre revolutionary France, apart from through history books or opera programmes. However, many will have experience and knowledge of Spain under a dictatorship.

And whilst the 1960s are often thought of as marking the beginning of sexual freedom, we also know that there were those taking advantage of that freedom for old and familiar ends - much like the Count!

What better parallel for the themes of this opera than an oppressive and male dominated society?

A most beautiful and thought provoking production; Bravo Glyndebourne!

I'll keep it brief as not wanting to be too repetitive but I was disappointed in the costumes and setting in 60s/70s and it was not certain which it was.Apart from some convincing bullying by the count, I could not feel the underlying class or sexual power in this production set in the period of so called free love when we had the pill. I was also disappointed in the dancing. However, I loved the countess's singing and latterly that of Susannah.

We had a wonderful evening last night.We thought that it was the most enjoyable production and performance of the Marriage that we have seen.The rather racy surtitles helped to create a wonderfully appropriate atmosphere,in keeping with the costumes.Marvellous sets,and consistently excellent singing,playing,conducting and acting.Well done and thank you!

Fantastic singing by all of the cast and another wonderful Glyndebourne evening.

This was really rather disappointing. The sets, especially for the 4th act were fine, but the idea that the droit dr Seigneur was still even contemplated in 1960s is absurd - even in Franco's Spain. This is an example of director's opera gone wrong and it was a shame to show it at Glyndebourne of all theatres, where Figaro is the House show. Most of the singing was fine, although the Countess shirked several high notes.

A most enjoyable evening, and hats off once again to the Touring Company! While we still have reservations about the updating and lack of real class tension in the production, we counted this performance in no way inferior to the Festival version - indeed, the Count and Countess came over significantly better this time. We could even manage without the sports car and visual preamble to distract our attention from that divine overture.

We saw the Marriage of Figaro at Covent Garden last year done totally conventionally, and very enjoyable it was. But last night we laughed out loud, not something I often do at opera. The energy, the sheer fizzle and fun revitalised the familiar and the heartstopping beauty of the music was done full justice by the simply glorious singing. One my most enjoyable evenings at the opera - we are tempted to follow the tour and enjoy it all over again.

I have commented earlier but failed to mention Kathryn Rudge's Cherubino which is darn near definitive. Heard the last tour performance at Glyndebourne which was among the best performances of this opera I have heard. However it was almost upstaged by the freebie which preceded it, a new opera by the composer in residence, Luke Styles, called Lovers Walk. Utterly magical. And a quite brilliant complement to Figaro. Figaro has four pairs of,shall we say, lovers, Count/Rosina, Figaro/Susanna, Bartolo/Marcellina and Cherubino/Barbarina and so has Lovers Walk. Benjamin Britten was a great Mozart fan and I think he would have found Luke's work very much to his taste.

Updating the droit de seigneur to the 1960's was a complete anachronism, so the whole production was based on a temporal implausibility. Completely unnecessary.

The singing wasn't bad, but why did the count have to look like Englebert Humperdinck? (The 20th century one, not the 19th century composer)

Loved the music. Well done to the Conductor and Orchestra. Stand-out singer for us was the Countess (Laya Claire) and the ensemble pieces. The comedic acting was well put across. Overall, we really enjoyed our return visit to Glyndebourne.

I have been visiting Glyndebourne regularly since 1967 and have seen 80 operas. " The Marriage " was excellent and a further triumph for Glyndebourne.Unfortunately at the age of 86 I am nable to see the surtitles clearly. My sight is very good and I only use glasses for reading. The intricacies of the plot for "The Marriage" were lost to me but the singing was divine. Is it possible to make the surtitlses slightly larger?

The magic of Mozart's music seemed quite approptiate to the 60's. Wonderful set, sublime singing by everyone, great acting, a very refreshing and joyful performance. Superb rectitatives and continuos, but was the orchestra a little loud? We were sorry to miss the Austin-Healy, but perhaps it would have been awkward in other theatres. Thank you again for an entrancing evening. We have loved all three productions. Very good luck for the tour.
PS Would it be possible to ban food and drink in the auditorium? An unfortuanate individual had to sit beside a picnic of wrapped sandwiches, fizzy drinks and sweets during the first act. Not on.

I loved my first experience attending the performance of The MARRIAGE OF FIGARO last night. After hearing about Glydebourne for many years from good friends who attend regularly, I have always wanted to go. I am visiting from California and the opportunity arose when two tickets became available. I thank the persons who had to cancel!! What a contrast to the Camino de Santiago walk I had just come off with my British friends. I hope I get to attend another opera in the future at Glydebourne. Marilyn

It is a fun production with wonderful scenery and beautiful singing and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.The artistic direction was flawless and the acting of the singers was most welcome.
We would welcome more productions like this one so come on Glyndebourne, appeal more to the masses rather than the purists.

Must be the best Figaro ever at Glyndebourne, excellent production.
Peter Walker

Very High quality of singing from all the cast, The countess' was particularly fine. Good value, the touring opera gets better and better.

The answer to Dave E above is to bring your own bottle!

Brilliant updating. Thoroughly enjoyable French Farce beautifully acted and sung. Bravo GOT!

This was not a good Grandage production. One had hoped that he would have taken the point made by Mr. Harries about class. The chorus seemed like supernumeries in fancy dress rather than workers on an estate.I have no objestion to the updating but the production let its significance slip by.
The singing was fine. It was a performance of two halves with the second better than the first.

A triumph at every level. Beautifully sung by every character and the chorus (with a special mention for Susannah and the Countess). Acted with wit and clever timing. Placing it in the 60's/70's actually worked! Dinner afterwards in the Wallops was exccellent and good value. Many thanks for a wonderful evening.

What a fabulous evening. We have seen Figaro many times but this was the most fun and in an unexpected way the most musical with terrific ensemble singing.
It does feel odd to see 60's fashion in the wonderful Moorish sets but it allowed more space for the farcical aspect of this (let's face it) ridiculous plot. And Mozart's music just soars above it all. I am sure he would have loved this. Oh and the Countess...she is serene.

A fun-filled and lively performance full of positive energy. Wonderful singing especially the 2 female leads.
Beautiful sets.
The 60's costumes were quirky and fun, but I couldn't really see how they fitted in with Moorish Seville.
The performance had a contemporary feel which might upset purists but will appeal to modern audiences. Is this the future of Opera?

This performance can be summed up in one word "fun". Not setting the opera in 1784 liberated the performance to achieve a sence of sheer fun on this crazy day in the life of its hero. Why all the fuss about the setting? I am sure that adopting late 18th Century costume is a fairly recent habit which is just not necessary. All art progresses by imagination and creativity. In my mind the peformanve was set in Marrakech in early 1970s featuring a strange cult. It matters only that the performance is enabled by the artist ditection and in my opinion it surely was. And by the way great singing and a great band.

Excellent production, probably the best Figaro we have seen, but 20 minutes is too short for an interval. A visit to the cloakroom followed by a drink needs 5 minutes more!

Figaro is a farce; it's fun, and that's how it was produced, and that's how it came over. The singing was superb, particularly Susannah, the orchestra magnificent, and the sets and costuming imaginative and appropriate.

We thoroughly enjoyed our experience of Glyndebourne, and came home waxing lyrical about it.

If I wanted a history lesson in the politics of the French Revolution, there are better places than Glyndebourne. If I want great entertainment, then East Sussex is the place.

The girls were great, the men very much less so. Orchestra fine. Sets fine. Costumes and and movement from the 60s simply did not work for us. Luckily the sets looks adaptable enough to cater for major costume and cast direction changes in the future.

The 60s adaptation was sensitively done and worked remarkably well. Susanna was superb especially in her last aria. The Countess's voice seemed a little too big for the part in the Glyndebourne auditorium - what about Donna Anna or Verdi?
The dramatic and imaginative production even kept my friend awake throughout (he usually has a dose!). Altogether most enjoyable and as always the music speaks for itself...

Quite a lot to say so will use telegraphic style:
Orchestra: 10/10
Decor: beautifully designed and v.appropriate to the play &
opera's background
Singers: top marks to Susanna, the Countess and Cherubino
rest of the cast, good but not inspiring
Costumes: the least successful aspect - Carnaby St not very
suitable for Mozart. The same applies to the
choreography: the 'twist' needs a totally different beat
Mozart might have been amused but we found it grotesque
PS: seating: next time we must remember to bring cushions,
as the seats were never well padded and all 5 of us were
soon shifting uncomfortably as were some of our neighbours.
Bravo for fitting the the upper balconies with protective
panels, partly thanks to Ringmer resident Flor Grindley's
suggestion.

I took my 84 year old mother in law to her first opera last week and she was entranced. She probably wasn't aware of the subtilities of the production, referred to in other comments posted above, but simply delighted in the beautiful music,the excellent singing and orchestration. The 9th October 2012 will be a day that she will remember for the rest of her life. And because of that so will I

Absolutely loved it! Although this has never been a favourite opera, this production had me entranced. Unlike some other reviewers, I thought that the 60s/70s setting made much sense in terms of the sexual politics. And Joelle Harvey... What can I say? Beautiful singing which had me almost in tears at one point in Act 4. I left wanting to see it all over again. thank you to everyone involved.

It is not an easy thing to breath so much new life into a very well known opera...this production certainly does that.
It has taken one or two risks along the way not all of which come off.
I am not sure that the choice of 60's clothing works although the Countess in her Pucci style gowns almost wins the argument.The slang surtitles were a mistake and there is a whole debate on removing the social issues of earlier productions.
The performers were wonderful and that is really what it is all about.
Well done on a great night and a fresh look at Figaro

Good performance,only thing to say we where in Foyer blue box B seated in the second row my husband could not see subtitles as they where obscured by the overhang of above because they where high above the stage.

Wonderful production overall (note the qualification!) and so beautifully sung, with not a weak voice amongst the terrific cast, none of whom, except Jean Rigby of course, had we seen or heard before; all brilliant! The individual arias were often moving, even the Count's, and obviously the Countess's 'Dove sono'; I don't think I've heard better. And of course, the Susanna was a star! Nevertheless, picking out one or two from such a cast doesn't do them justice with so much talent on show. The expansive conducting of Jonathan Cohen in the pit was entertaining to watch during the overture, but it delivered the goods then and throughout.
Of course, updating an historical production 'so that modern audiences can understand' never works - and it's so insulting! Who do they think we are? Others have commented in more detail, so I'll say no more. We've seen far worse, and the important thing is to ignore the anachronisms and enjoy things as they are; there was so much to enjoy here. We went home thoroughly happy.
We're now looking forward to Rusalka next week.

Thank you for a wonderful evening, the performance was fantastic, full of fun, just great, can't wait to come again. Could we have a little longer for the interval, by the time we got to our drinks the bell rang, judging by the comments around us people felt the same. The English sub-titles were great for us new comers!!!

BRILLIANT BRILLIANT BRILLIANT: 3 Hours plus of the most amazing entertainment. Great Stage Settings; impeccable singing; just a superb experience. The English Translation Crib at the top of the stage was a brilliant idea. Thanks a Million Guys, you were AWESOME

Thoroughly enjoyed the evening last night, and thought the Moroccan sets were amazing. As with another reviewer did not like the mud! Think the car park could do with some flood lighting to cope with the dark nights as we could not see a thing and were blinded by car headlights. Also, more outdoor heaters for the colder nights. First experience of the Tour and will, no doubt, be back for more

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