MOZART: Le Nozze di Figaro ó Vienna 2001

Music composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte
after Beaumarchaisí play La folle journÈe, ou Le mariage de

First Performance: 1 May 1786, Burgtheater, Vienna.

Principal Characters:
Count Almaviva Baritone
Countess Almaviva Soprano
Susanna her maid, betrothed to Figaro Soprano
Figaro valet to Count Almaviva Bass
Cherubino the Countís page Mezzo-Soprano
Marcellina housekeeper to Bartolo Soprano
Bartolo a doctor from Seville Bass
Don Basilio music master Tenor
Don Curzio magistrate Tenor
Barbarina daughter of Antonio Soprano
Antonio gardener, Susannaís uncle Bass

Setting: Aguasfrescas near Seville, the Almavivasí
country house


Act I

A half-furnished room in the castle of Count Almaviva

Figaro’s satisfaction at the location of the room assigned to him and his
prospective bride, Susanna, is shattered when she points out that the Count
(who has done away with his hereditary right to the first night with any
bride on his estate, but regrets it) has designs on her and the location of
the room will assist him.

Marcellina plans to marry Figaro, who has signed a contract promising
marriage if he is unable to repay money borrowed from her, and Bartolo is
eager to be revenged on Figaro by assisting her. Cherubino tells Susanna that
the Count is sending him away because of his amorous inclinations. He hides
behind a chair as the Count approaches. Susanna tries to avoid the Count’s
advances. He hides behind the chair when Basilio appears, and Cherubino hides
in the chair. Basilio warns Susanna that the Count will be angry if she
encourages Cherubino and the Count emerges from hiding and discovers
Cherubino. The Count accepts the praises of his servants, led by Figaro, but
postpones the crowning of Susanna as a bride. He assigns Cherubino a place in
his regiment and orders him to leave at once.

Act II

The Countess’ bedroom

The Countess is sad because her husband neglects her. She joins in
Figaro’s scheme to disguise Cherubino as Susanna, who is to agree to an
assignation with the Count, who can then be caught in the act. But the Count
arrives unexpectedly. Cherubino hides, but betrays himself by knocking
something over. The Count is ready to break down the door, but when he goes
to get tools, Susanna lets Cherubino out and he jumps from the window, and
she takes his place, surprising not only the Count, but the Countess, who
takes her time about forgiving her husband for his suspicions.

Figaro comes in to announce that all is ready for the wedding, but is
confronted by the Count, who knows it is Figaro who has written an anonymous
letter telling him the Countess will be receiving a lover in the garden (part
of Figaro’s elaborate plot). Antonio, the gardener, arrives with the
complaint that someone jumped from the window into his garden. When Figaro
claims that it was he who jumped, Antonio produces a paper which dropped from
Cherubino’s pocket, challenging him to idenfity it. With the assistance of
the women, he does so – it is the page’s commission. Marcellina, supported by
Bartolo and Basilio, arrives to press her claim for Figaro’s hand, as he has
no money to pay her back.


A big drawing room

Urged by the Countess, Susanna pretends to agree to an assignation with
the Count, but he overhears her telling Figaro of the success of the plan.

Marcellina and Bartolo arrive with a lawyer to demand that Figaro fulfil
his contract, but it is discovered that he is the long-lost son of Marcellina
and Bartolo. Susanna boxes Figaro’s ears when she sees him embracing
Marcellina, but explanations prove satisfactory to all except the Count, who
storms out.

The Countess laments her sad life with a faithless husband. She gets
Susanna to write him a note agreeing to a meeting in the garden, sealing it
with a pin which is to be returned as his answer. Peasant girls, including
Barbarina, Antonio’s daughter, and Cherubino, whom she has dressed as a girl
to hide him from the Count, bring gifts to the Countess, but the Count and
Antonio appear and unmask Cherubino. The Count is about to send Cherubino
away, but Barbarina, reminding him of promises made when he was making
advances to her, successfully asks for Cherubino as her husband.

There is a double wedding ceremony – Marcellina and Bartolo as well as
Susanna and Figaro. Susanna slips her note to the Count. Figaro is amused to
see him prick his finger with the pin, but does not realise the note is from

Act IV

The garden, at night

Barbarina, entrusted with taking the pin to Susanna, has lost it, and
Figaro learns that it was Susanna who wrote the note. The Countess is to take
Susanna’s place in meeting the Count, and they have changed clothes.
Marcellina warns Susanna that Figaro is hiding, planning to trap her, and she
sings an alluring love-song, intended for him, but which he interprets as
being directed at the Count. Cherubino makes advances to the Countess, under
the impression that she is Susanna. Susanna intends to be revenged on Figaro
for doubting her, but he penetrates her disguise and turns the tables,
pretending to believe she is really the Countess and making love to her.
Explanations and reconciliation ensue and, realising that the Count is
listening, they resume the apparent love scene between Figaro and the
Countess. The Count summons everyone to witness his wife’s disgrace, ignoring
pleas for mercy. He is silenced when the Countess herself adds her plea and
in turn asks her forgiveness, which she grants.

[Synopsis Source: Opera~Opera]

Click here for the
complete liberetto

image_description=Il Conte di Almaviva: Simon Keenlyside
first_audio_name=W. A. Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro
product_title=W. A. Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro
product_by=Il Conte di Almaviva: Simon Keenlyside
La Contessa di Almaviva: Melanie Diener
Susanna: Tatiana Lisnic
Figaro: Carlos Alvarez
Cherubino: Angelika Kirchschlager
Marcellina: Francesca Pedaci
Bartolo: Maurizio Moraro
Basilio: Michael Roider
Don Curzio: Peter Jelosits
Barbarina: Ileana Tonca
Antonio: Boaz Daniel
Chor der Wiener Staatsoper, Wiener Philharmoniker
Riccardo Muti (cond.)
Live Performance, 18 June 2001, Wiener Festwochen 2001, Theater an der Wien, Vienna