Friday, December 6, 2019

The Marriage of Figaro (an opera review post)

I know I usually have some kind of image to go along with these posts, usually the program book, but I'm not feeling like going to the trouble at this point. It's already been, like, a month (way more, now, actually) since we saw this, so I'm going to be doing good just to get some words out. Speaking of getting some words out, this is actually the second production we've seen of The Marriage of Figaro so, theoretically, I should have another post reviewing the previous production we saw... but, well, I can't find it. Not that I went back through my posts one by one or anything, but I did do several searches for it, including on google, and came up with nothing. Maybe I didn't review it when we saw it a few years ago? That doesn't seem right. At least, I was pretty sure I'd reviewed each opera we saw, but maybe I didn't start doing that right away. Except it wouldn't have been right away, because it wasn't one of our first operas.

Oh, well, a mystery probably not worth solving, but it does make me wonder.

I'm also wondering how I'm even going to review this considering how long it's been since we saw it, which was back in October. Look, things have been busy.

I suppose the most important thing to say is that this is a great opera. It's Mozart, one of his comedies (Mozart at his best), and one of the top 10 most performed operas each year. It has a famous scene in it where there are seven (or eight?) people on stage singing at once, all singing something different -- nothing like this had ever been done before -- and, yet, it works and blends perfectly. But, then, it's Mozart, so of course it does.

The Marriage of Figaro is the middle opera of a trilogy which begins with The Barber of Seville. The most famous version of Barber is not by Mozart, though I think he has his own version of that one, too. I haven't seen the third of this trilogy, yet (and can't remember the name of it, right off hand), but I really want to. See, each of this first two operas are quite outstanding as individual operas but, when you roll the plots together, they become so much more.

Let me explain:

In The Barber of Seville, there's this guy who wants to marry this girl, but she's promised to someone else, someone she doesn't want to marry, of course, but he has money, so her father wants her to go with old-money-guy rather than the guy she's in love with. In steps Figaro, the barber of Seville and quite famous, to help the love birds get together. Which he does through quite a few hi-jinks.

Which brings us to Marriage. Well, you know, the love birds get married, but I was speaking of the opera. The young woman in Barber is titled, so the couple is now Count and Countess, and Figaro works for them. Marriage is set about a year after Barber, and Figaro is, himself, about to get married to the Countess' handmaid. Except...

Except that the Count is hot for Figaro's bride-to-be and doing all he can to bed her, including gifting Figaro and Susanna with the best room in the mansion (aside from his, I suppose) as a wedding present because... yeah, it's very close to his room, so, you know, he'll have easy access to the new bride after the wedding. Yeah, this is the same guy whom Figaro just helped to marry his "soulmate." Or whatever. Real stand-up guy.

At any rate, it's a comedy and full hi-jinks, including mistaken identities and people falling out of windows. The production at SFO was wonderful. But I'm probably biased.