15 Nov 2013

Mozart – Overture to The Marriage of Figaro

by Jeff Counts

Instrumentation: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani, strings.

Duration: 5 minutes.

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791) – The Marriage of Figaro was the first of three successful collaborations between librettist Lorenzo da Ponte and Mozart. Based on the second part of the Beaumarchais Figaro Trilogy, Mozart’s brilliant opera buffa continues the story begun with The Barber of Seville. We find ourselves among the familiar characters on the day of Figaro’s wedding to Susanna but the ceremony is delayed by various intrigues, plots and other flights of aristocratic spoofery. That the opera would become the beloved repertory standard it is today was not immediately apparent. The play was banned at first and it took some effort by da Ponte to get permission for his libretto treatment. Once complete, the opera enjoyed a successful premiere but only eight more performances in Vienna, where paid hecklers attempted to bring Mozart down. Mozart soon took the production on the road to Prague and it was there that the history begins to match our own affection.