The Marriage Of Figaro is always a welcome guest at Opera Australia’s summer season, attracting large audiences to hear Mozart’s enchanting music and to watch Figaro and Susanna outwit the stratagems of the lascivious Count to win out in the end.
The story is somewhat complicated.
When the Count, played by Italian baritone Mario Cassi, hears of the impending marriage of Figaro and Susanna, he intends to exercise his “droit de seigneur” and bed Susanna first.
Further complications arise when a former housekeeper, sung by Sian Sharp, claims Figaro as her husband as specified in a contract he signed when he borrowed money from her.
Italian Tommaso Barea lends his bass-baritone to the role of Figaro and plays him with a youthful tom foolery that threatens to bring him and his beloved undone.
Stacey Alleaumecaptures both Susanna’s strength and her playfulness when these are called upon to work a way out of the tricky situation she, her fiancé Figaro, the Countess and Cherubino find themselves in.
Mezzo-soprano Agnes Sarkis’ Cherubino, a page, delights in expressing her character’seagerness to fall in love, which Cherubino does with the Countess – a further complication given that the Count is a jealous husband.
Sung by soprano Ekaterina Morozova, the countess provides the thrill of listening to a star of the Bolshoi right here in our own Opera House. Morozova’s command of her singing role, her fine acting ability, and her capacity to evoke sympathy, are breathtaking.
Enter the music teacher Don Basilio (Benjamin Rasheed) doctor Bartolo(Richard Anderson) and the plot seems about to run off the rails.
New staging by Andy Morton, with its spacious room, high windows and patches of light and shade offer a peaceful and beautiful environment in which we can be sure that all will end well.
This production is a revival of David McVicar’s from 2015, with maestro Andrea Molino holding the baton and keeping up the lively pace of the score.
It has been noted that the comedy of The Marriage Of Figarohas a dark, sharp edge, with the Count’s displays of jealousy, bullying and domestic violence towards the Countess, with the possible rape of Susanna, and the Count’svindictiveness in sending young Cherubino off to become a soldier.
We all breathe a sigh of relief at the cheerfulfinale, the music and the libretto inexorably leading us to a pleasing conclusion for all, including us in the audience.