Librettist: Da Ponte
Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Director: Michael Grandage
Revival: Ian Rutherford
Glyndebourne on Tour is a frequent and much-loved visitor to Milton Keynes Theatre and this evening’s version of Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro ) is a new production from the acclaimed director, Michael Grandage.
The original story for Figaro was penned by the witty and daring French writer Beaumarchais in the 18th century at a time, just before the French Revolution, when the aristos were living pretty but more than a little scared of how they were perceived by people. And perhaps they sensed the grumblings…… the piece was a none-too-well hidden satire and was consequently banned from being performed in public on several occasions but this made the play even more attractive to Mozart and Da Ponte, his librettist, who then produced from its concept the wonderful opera known and loved worldwide – Le Nozze di Figaro. They did not shy away from very astute characterisation making the opera as sharply incisive, clever and amusing as the original play. It is farce-like and pacy with the events occurring in the space of just one day, a somewhat wacky and chaotic day at that. The politics of the piece still work today.
The story tells of the Count who is angered by the prospect of his servants’ (Figaro and Susanna) wish to be betrothed. He is so cross that he completely ignores his wife, the beleaguered Countess, who is left very sad and isolated while her husband chases after the same Susanna. There are lots of schemes and plots all interwoven, including the dastardly attempts by Marcellina and Bartolo to ruin Figaro’s plans. They will, however, get their karma. Meanwhile the over-sexed Cherubino is after any female that will have him!!
Figaro was strongly and richly sung with conviction by baritone Guido Loconsolo. Susanna was performed this evening by Anna Devin. A super performance and her mature voice blended beautifully with that of Loconsolo. Some great duets and great chemistry between them. The voice of the Countess, a rôle portrayed by Layla Claire, was lovely and pure with good range and she is a very graceful mover. Count Almaviva was the best character performance. John Moore in his 60s gear really brought out the controlling, jealous and letchy aspects of the man. And another dark baritone voice. Kathryn Rudge brought us Cherubino and what an excellent job she did as the awkward and obsessed young man besotted by the Countess. She did the gender switches well. The remainder of the young cast all sang and performed wonderfully and worked together extremely well
The simple yet effective set from Christopher Oram gave a real 1960s take on Mozart’s opera, with the Count and Countess as European nouvelle riche living in a palace which retained the Moorish feel, all excellently lit by Paul Constable.
The Glyndebourne Tour Orchestra under the guidance of Jonathan Cohen played with plenty of verve and enthusiasm and were rarely too loud. The choreography was interesting, if not a tad contrived at times, in an attempt to give us the 60s ambiance. A sumptuous evening altogether.
On Tues 27th and Thurs 29th November 12