Hill-Gibbins's updated production has already been tried out an Oper Wuppertal in Germany, and comes to English National Opera with a terrific cast headed by British bass-baritone Božidar Smilhanić as Figaro and soprano Louise Alder as his soon-to-be wife Susanna.
Louise Alder has become one of the most sought-after artists today since winning the audience prize at the Cardiff Singer of the World competition.
Louise Alder sings the resourceful, long-suffering Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro. Photo: Gerard Collett
The couple's wedding plans are thwarted by a lascivious employer, the Count (Johnathan McCulllough), who neglects his Countess, sung by Elizabeth Watts. Also conspiring against their happiness are the opportunist hangers-on (reliable casting here includes Yvonne Howard and Andrew Shore), and the accident-prone, loved-up teenager Cherubino – a 'trouser' role sung by Hanna Hipp.
The sassy modern setting and this luxury casting bodes well for Mozart's brilliant music, setting a quick-witted libretto by his most successful collaborator, Lorenzo da Ponte.
The action takes place on the eve of the couple's wedding, but the Count hopes take a pop at Susanna himself. Meanwhile Figaro proves to be bound to another, older woman... With the help of the Countess, they trip up the Count, and find their way through the legal maze too, but there is much fun to be had on the way to the night garden dénouement.
The Marriage of Figaro is sung in English with English surtitles. Performances are at 7PM on 14, 19, 21, 25, 31 March; 2, 9, 14, 16 and 18 April (6PM start), running time 3hr 20 min. Under-18s go free to most performances. There is a pre-performances talk on 21 March.
|What||The Marriage of Figaro, English National Opera|
|Where||English National Opera, London Coliseum, St Martin's Lane, London, WC2N 4ES | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Charing Cross (underground)|
14 Mar 20 – 18 Apr 20, 10 performances, times vary
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|