Intense, affecting, humorous and brilliantly acted and sung- bravo!
Is this my first choice for Mozart's wonderful opera? No, that's between the 1973, 1993 and 1994 performances as well as the Ponnelle film from 1975. But this production is a more than worthy one, only let down really by a too darkly-lit Act 4. The rest though is a joy, although the modern props(the tool belt, the Vogue Magazine) and thumping around may distract- at first they did with me but on repeat viewings I've gotten used to them- the costumes and sets are sumptuous enough. The orchestra are stylish and energetic yet prove to be sensitive and characterful in the recitatives. Usually I don't associate Daniel Barenboim with Mozart, recently I have been very into his Wagner conducting, but his conducting brims with energy like it's fit to burst, making Act 2 tense, Dovo Sono and the finale moving, the letter duet and Cherubino's arias beautifully balanced and charming and the duet between Susanna and Marcellina biting and humorous. The singing and acting are wonderful, with Rene Pape terrific in the title role with some of the warmest and most beautiful voices of anybody singing Figaro, and Roman Trekl is the most predatory and menacing Count I've seen in a while. Add to that Dorothea Roschmann's charming Susanna(I personally much prefer her as Susanna than as the Countess), Emily McGee's moving Countess and Patricia Risley's attractive and sometimes authentically boyish Cherubino, not to mention an amusing Marcellina, Bartolo and Basilio, and you have a great cast who alone elevate this Figaro to a higher level.
All in all, a very well done production, not the best, but the cast and musical values make it well worth watching. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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