Link to original Article as Published by The Opera 101

In Brief

Name: Le nozze di Figaro

Translated name: The Marriage of Figaro

Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Librettist: Lorenzo da Ponte

Language: Italian

Date of premiere: May 1, 1786

Number of Acts: 4

Music length: 3 hours


Name Vocal Type Description
Antonio Bass The Count’s gardener, Susanna’s uncle, and a close observer of castle windows.
Barbarina Soprano Antonio’s daughter, Susanna’s niece, and the one woman who seemingly really loves Cherubino.
Bartolo Bass Doctor from Seville who is on Marcellina’s side when it comes to loan contracts (and other things it turns out).
Cherubino MS The Count’s youthful page who is in love with nearly every woman in the opera, but particularly the Countess.
Count Almaviva Baritone Local pol who believes he has the right to any woman in his realm. Currently has designs on his wife’s maid, Susanna.
Countess Almaviva Soprano Still loves the Count, despite him trying to cheat on her with her maid. (You can do better, Countess!)
Don Basilio Tenor The Countess’s music teacher who is also doing his best to get her to succumb to the Count’s advances.
Figaro Bass The Count’s valet. Generally affable defender of his fiancée’s honor, but has some ridiculous ideas about women in general.
Marcellina Soprano Bartolo’s housekeeper who loaned Figaro a substantial amount of money with the assurance that he pay her back or marry her.
Susanna Soprano The Countess’s maid. Engaged to Figaro and wooed by the Count.


Le nozze di Figaro is the product of Mozart’s first collaboration with the librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte, a relationship that resulted in three of the greatest operas of all time—FigaroDon Giovanni, and Così fan tutteFigaro is an opera buffa, essentially a farce, built on mistaken identities and misunderstandings centered around the upstairs/downstairs power dynamics of so many classic comedies. The first half of the opera is basically perfect, with loads of laughs and memorable solos, duets, and trios propelling the story to an ensemble finale that might be the best Mozart wrote. The increasingly intricate plot machinations slow the momentum a bit in the third act, when lots of recitative (unsung dialogue) is required to try and justify the twists, but it is all worth it for the opera’s conclusion, where Mozart does what only Mozart can do, marrying the madcap and the divine before bursting joyously into celebration.

Whether you’re getting yourself into the mood for this weekend’s performance, or in the need of some musical inspiration, tune in to the stunningly powerful music of this week’s Theatre Thursdays feature in this playlist of Le nozze di Figaro!

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