LE NOZZE DI FIGARO
MUSIC BY W.A. MOZART LIBRETTO BY LOENZO DA PONTE
A ROYAL OPERA HOUSE PRODUCTION
ROYAL OPERA HOUSE ORCHESTRA AND CHORUS
CONDUCTOR: ANTONIO PAPPANO
DIRECTOR: DAVID Mc VICAR
DESIGNER: TANYA MC CALLIN
WITH EDWIN SCHROTT, MIAH PERSSON, DOROTHEA ROSCHMANN, GERALD FINLEY, RINAT SHAHAN, JONATHAN VEIRA, GRACIELA ARAYA, PHILIP LANGRIDGE, ANA JAMES, FRANCIS EGERTON, and JEREMY WHITE
The ROYAL OPERA HOUSE production of LE NOZZE DI FIGARO – better known on this side of the ocean by its English title: The Marriage of Figaro has much in it that deserves unqualified praise, above all its cast of seasoned singing actors. There’s that and almost no draconian cuts, so that Don Basilio’s and Marcellina’s Act IV arias are preserved and very nicely respectively delivered by Philip Langridge and Graciela Araya.
The eleven principals excel in first class vocalism all the while fleshing out strong characterizations injected with humor and down-to-earth humanity.
There’s Edwin Schrott as Figaro and Gerald Finley as Count Almaviva, two excellent bass-baritones who bring out the danger in their relationship and imbue their singing with menace while singing elegantly.
Likewise the mistress-maid dynamic is performed by Dorothea Roschmann and Miah Persson with cystal clear clarity and injected with genuine affection. In addition both sopranos sing gloriously, and their connection to Rinat Shahan’s endearing Cherubino fluctuates from maternal to carnal.
The supporting roles of Dr. Bartolo and Marcellina become in the capable hands of Jonathan Veira and Graciela Araya real human beings whose Act III discovery of their true relationship to each other and to Figaro wins our hearts. Even the tiny roles of Don Curzio (Francis Egerton), Barbarina (Ana James) and Antonio (Jeremy White) are flawlessly rendered in David Mc Vicar’s production.
There’s no question that the vast interiors of the Castle of Aguas Frescas might be architecturally accurate and, further, that they are meant to convey by designer Tanya Mc Callin a certain feeling of isolation amongst its quarreling inhabitants, although I could not make head or tails of the puzzling change from Act III’s palatial hall to Act IV’s neither indoors nor outdoors environment. Mc Callin’s choice of early 19th century costumes places the action in a post-Napoleonic sunless Seville where the loathsome “droit du seigneur” is up for discussion and the Goyesque, high-waist silhouette allows the women a modicum of corset-less freedom.
David McVicar’s staging fully succeeds in sparing the audience any clowning or posturing on the part of the singers. Other than the silent character of the old woman who aimlessly wanders around toward the end of the opera I found his directorial choices unimpeachable.
Antonio Pappano led the orchestra and cast with untiring energy and Mozartian elegance.
This DVD is part of the Royal Opera Collection ( OA1337BD / OABD7291BD).
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