The revival this year of John Cox’s very traditional and warm-hearted 2005 production of Mozart’s comedy comes with new casting, notably Joshua Bloom as a natural Figaro, better looking, more quick-witted than his master, and relaxed in this amiable role, and Jennifer France as his resourceful bride-to-be Susanna, maid to the ignored Countess, and object now of the Count’s affections.
Seduction, flirtation, double-dealing, resolution, forgiveness … the twists and turns of a summer evening’s madness unfold steadily – perhaps a little too steadily for those who like their Nozze a little racier. Tempi are really critical to keeping the mixture on a rolling boil in this long and winding opera, and Douglas Boyd (perhaps conscious of the presence in the audience of Sir Bernard Haitink, one of the greatest conductors on the planet), played a little safe, so that the piece occasionally sagged.
But there is characterful singing from Kirsten MacKinnon as the unloved Countess and Duncan Rock as the priapic Count, and Marta Fontanals-Simmons makes a really boyish Cherubino.
Design by Robert Perdziola opens with a clutter of indoor and outdoor props, and with each scene the mess sorts into order, as the plot does.
As the London-based Mozart 250 project demonstrates this year, Wolfgang Amadeus was composing operas from the age of 11, and from the outset he was master of the genre. By the time he got to Le Nozze di Figaro (at the advanced age of 30) he was at the height of his powers, with irresistible melodies, dazzling ensemble numbers and a dramatist’s flair for turning from comedy to tragedy and back to comedy again in an instant. This production may not be so fleet of foot, but it is as faithful as the Count is not.
Le Nozze di Figaro is sung in Italian with English surtitles. Best availability: 3 and 16 July
|What||Le Nozze di Figaro review, Garsington Opera|
|Where||Garsington Opera , Wormsley Estate , Stokenchurch, HP14 3YG | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Marylebone (underground)|
02 Jun 17 – 16 Jul 17, 11 performances, with long dinner interval
|Price||£35 - £200|
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|