I have always adored opera, and Le Nozze Di Figaro has always been a big favourite. When it comes to productions of this terrific opera, whether on film or on stage, my favourites are the 1975 Jean-Pierre Ponnelle film with Hermann Prey(my favourite Figaro), Mirella Freni, Kiri TeKanawa and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and the 1994 Glyndebourne production with Renee Fleming, Alison Hagley(my personal favourite Susanna of the 90s) and Andreas Schmidt.
Neither were perfect, one had the odd moment of dizzying camera work and some stodgily paced recitatives, and the other had the occasional annoying wide-vowel singing especially from Antonio. However, even with these nit-picky problems, both are sublime.
Back to this 1993 production, it is delightful and just a joy to watch listening to the amazing music, enjoying the funny(sometimes) and exciting situations and admiring the characters and their predicaments. The three or so hours fly by, thanks to the lively conducting, terrific performances and stylish orchestral playing.
The costumes and sets are simple but beautifully constructed, Countess' costume in act 2 was perhaps unflattering but hey I can live with that, likewise with the camera work, and I personally liked how they staged the first act. I can understand why there are those why mayn't like the changes to (the shortened) act 4, and there are quite a few including the omission of Basilio and Marcellina's arias. Initially I was perplexed at why, but once I read the explanations of why I wasn't so much. Perhaps the changes aren't my cup of tea particularly but that didn't stop me from enjoying the first three acts. Act 2 is a sheer delight and the end of act 3 is cleverly done.
The performances are uniformly excellent. Bryn Terfel is a terrific Figaro, he performs with gusto, he is very cunning and lovable at the same time, and handles the tessitura very well. Alison Hagley is an outstanding Susanna, and Rodney Gilfry is great as the menacing Count. Hillevi Martinpelto is a heart breaking Countess, with a breathtaking rendition of Dove Sono. Pamela Helen Stephenson is an endearing and youthful Cherubino, Constanze Backe equally so as Barbarina, Francis Egerton(complete with the hair) is a real tour-De-force when it comes to the comedy and Susan McColloch and Carlos Feller are excellent as Marcellina and Bartolo.
Overall, truly delightful. 9/10 Bethany Cox
0 of 0 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?