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The ETO cast perform The Marriage of Figaro

The Marriage of Figaro

Spring 2018

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

A new production of Mozart’s razor-sharp comic opera
Spring 2018
  • 4 Stars

    Newcomers could hardly have a better introduction to one of the masterpieces of opera.

    Daily Mail

  • 4 Stars

    …beautifully acted and sung by a fine ensemble cast

    The Guardian

  • 4 Stars

    …exceptionally well conducted by Christopher Stark

    The Stage

  • 4 Stars

    This is a jolly nice show that can be warmly recommended

    The Telegraph

  • 4 Stars

    …exceptionally well conducted by Christopher Stark

    The Times


Act I

A small room in the castle of the Count and Countess Almaviva: morning

It is the morning of Figaro and Susanna’s wedding. Figaro is measuring the room the Count has given them, which is next to both the Count’s and the Countess Rosina’s. Susanna points out that it will give the Count the perfect opportunity to sexually harass her: he wants to reinstate the droit du seigneur1 that he has recently abolished. Figaro resolves to outwit the Count.

Dr Bartolo and Marcellina sneak in. Both want to break up Figaro’s marriage. Marcellina loves Figaro, and she has a contract in which he promises either to repay the loan she gave him or to marry her instead. Bartolo wants revenge because Figaro fixed it for his intended bride, Rosina, to elope with the Count.

The young page Cherubino surprises Susanna. He wants her help: the Count has found him with Barbarina and ordered him to leave the castle. He hopes Susanna will persuade the Countess to intercede for him. The Count appears, causing panic: Cherubino hides and hears his overtures to Susanna. Basilio enters and the Count also hides, overhearing Basilio’s insinuations about Cherubino and the Countess. The furious Count reveals himself, and accidentally discovers the page. He is persuaded not to exile Cherubino but gives him an army commission instead – something just as unwelcome.

Act 2

The Countess’s bedroom: late morning

The Countess laments the loss of the Count’s love and questions Susanna about his plans. Figaro enters with a scheme to stop the Count interfering: he has sent him a fake letter accusing the Countess of infidelity, and he hopes this will distract the Count long enough for the wedding to go ahead. The Countess points out that Marcellina could also stop it, and Figaro comes up with a second plan. Susanna will agree to meet the Count in the garden, and they will send Cherubino to the meeting instead, in drag: this will embarrass the Count so much that he will have to agree to what they want.

Figaro leaves and the women start to dress Cherubino. Halfway through the Count arrives, with the fake letter, in a rage. Cherubino hides in the Countess’s closet, but he gives himself away by knocking over a chair. The Countess pretends that Susanna is in the closet but she won’t unlock the door. The Count thinks she’s hiding a lover and goes to fetch a crowbar. This allows Susanna to let Cherubino out and he jumps out of the window to escape. Susanna takes his place in the closet.

The Count and Countess get back and the Countess confesses that Cherubino is in the closet. Both are astonished when Susanna reveals herself. The women pretend that the whole episode was a trick to make the Count behave better. They tell the Count about the fake letter. This causes trouble for Figaro when he arrives;
then the gardener, Antonio, rushes in with a flowerpot that Cherubino broke when he jumped, and Figaro has
to pretend that he was the man who jumped out of the window. Finally Marcellina, Basilio and Bartolo arrive with the contract and Figaro can’t talk his way out of it. The Count is triumphant.