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The Marriage of Figaro 1987

July 3 - August 28, 1987

A Count with roving eyes…

…for Figaro’s young bride-to-be is thwarted at every turn by conniving servants and a forgiving wife. This beloved comedy of manners has delighted audiences for over 200 years.

Music By
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto By
Lorenzo da Ponte based on Le mariage de Figaro by Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais

Synopsis

Act I

Three years have passed since The Barber of Seville, and Rosina is now living at the palace as Countess Almaviva. Figaro is the Count’s valet, Marcellina has moved in as housekeeper, and Don Basilio has been given the post of music teacher. New acquaintances are Cherubino, the adolescent page; Antonio, the gardner, and his daughter, Barbarina; and Susanna, the Countess’s maid, whom Figaro intends to marry this day. Figaro has borrowed money from Marcellina with a promise either to repay the loan within a certain time or to marry her.

The Count has promised Susanna a handsome dowry, hoping that she will give him the feudal lord’s right to the first night. This privilege he vowed to give up after marrying Rosina.

A room in the palace between the apartments of the Count and the Countess (early morning).

Figaro is proud of the fine room and the bed that the Count has given him as a wedding present. However, Susanna refuses to move in, thus revealing the Count’s selfish ulterior motives to the unsuspecting bridegroom. Figaro sees his master in a new light and begins to think out a sly way of getting revenge.

At the last moment, Marcellina has summoned Doctor Bartolo to aid in preventing the marriage. He promises his support, realizing that it is his chance to get his revenge upon Figaro, who thwarted Doctor Bartolo’s marriage to Rosina. Cherubino begs Susanna to plead his cause with the Countess: that he be allowed to remain in service. The jealous Count wants to dismiss Cherubino and tries to bribe Susanna into agreeing to a rendezvous in the park on her wedding night, but she repulses him. Don Basilio intrigues on the Count’s behalf and at the same time slanders the page who, frightened, has hidden.

Figaro collects the servants to proceed with the wedding. He leads them in their praise of the Count’s goodness in abolishing the droit du seigneur and asks the Count to place the white veil, the symbol of virtue, on Susanna’s head. The Count refuses! The struggle has begun.

The Count hopes that Marcellina will help in postponing the wedding. Finally, he sends Cherubino off to the regiment. On the sly, Figaro asks the page to stay at the palace until evening.

Act II

The Countess’s boudoir (forenoon). Susanna is to agree to the rendezvous in the park, but Cherubino will put on her clothes and go in her stead. To mislead the Count, Figaro has smuggled him a letter, which hints that the Countess has a lover.

Cherubino is trying on the Countess’s clothes when the Count returns unexpectedly. A scene is enacted that reveals his complicated relationship to his wife, who is greatly degraded.

Cherubino jumps from the balcony, and Susanna enjoys seeing the Count outwitted. Figaro announces that everything is set for the wedding. However, Antonio saw a man jump from the Countess’s window and drop the page’s commission.

Figaro convinces the Count that it was he who jumped out of the window. Marcellina and Doctor Bartolo enter with Don Basilio. They accuse Figaro of lying. The Count is triumphant. Figaro, Susanna and the Countess are in despair. Open warfare is waged and Figaro’s wedding is seriously threatened.

Act III

A hall in the palace (afternoon). To make sure the wedding occurs, the Countess urges Susanna to invite the Count to a tryst in the park; she will keep the assignation, wearing Susanna’s dress, and surprise the unfaithful Count.

The Count, realizing that he is being mocked, desires to end his servant’s impudence and avenge himself by backing Marcellina’s claim, forcing Figaro either to marry her or repay the loan.

Once again, the Count’s plans are frustrated: it turns out that Marcellina and Doctor Bartolo, although not married, are Figaro’s parents. In addition, the Countess has given Susanna money to pay Figaro’s debt, so there is nothing to prevent the marriage.

The Countess resolves to show up her husband and dictates a love letter to Susanna, sealing it with a pin, which is to be sent back as an answer. Cherubino, who has been hiding in the palace, turns up again with a bevy of village girls led by Barbarina, who presents flowers to the Countess.

The Count is forced to hold a double wedding: Figaro and Susanna, Doctor Bartolo and Marcellina. When Susanna slips the Count the invitation, he regains his good humor and bids everyone to join in the joyous celebrations and feasting.

Act IV

The park of the palace (evening). Barbarina has lost the pin that the Count asked her to give secretly to Susanna. Figaro finds out about this and thinks that Susanna is being unfaithful to him.

In his unbridled jealousy, Figaro brings Doctor Bartolo, Don Basilio and other guests to the rendezvous to expose the Count and Susanna. Susanna pays Figaro back for his suspicions by turning up in the park and pretending to be lovesick as she waits for the Count. The Countess changes clothes with Susanna. Looking for Barbarina, Cherubino enters and nearly ruins the Countess’s plot.

Figaro soon stumbles onto what is happening. Everyone now joins in the game of putting the Count in his place after he has tried to seduce his own wife disguised in Susanna’s clothing.

Before “the day of madness” is over, Mozart lets everyone experience a brief moment of harmony – alas, so brief!

Artists

Santa Fe Opera

Marcel Vanaud

Baritone

Figaro

Kathryn Gamberoni

Kathryn Gamberoni

Soprano

Susanna

Santa Fe Opera

Edith Wiens

Soprano

Countess Almaviva (July 3 - 11; August 11 - 28)

Ashley Putnam

Ashley Putnam

Soprano

Countess Almaviva (July 17)

Sheri Greenawald headshot

Sheri Greenawald

Soprano

Countess Almaviva (August 4)

Santa Fe Opera

Edward Crafts

Baritone

Count Almaviva

Santa Fe Opera

Zehava Gal

Mezzo-soprano

Cherubino

Kevin Langan headshot

Kevin Langan

Bass

Doctor Bartolo

Santa Fe Opera

Jean Kraft

Mezzo-soprano

Marcellina

Ragnar Ulfung headshot

Ragnar Ulfung

Tenor

Don Basilio

John Kuether headshot

John Kuether

Bass

Antonio

Santa Fe Opera

James Doing

Tenor

Don Curzio

Santa Fe Opera

Lisa Treger

Soprano

Barbarina

Santa Fe Opera

Karen Kassouni-May

Soprano

Peasant Girl

Santa Fe Opera

Jennifer Lane

Mezzo-soprano

Peasant Girl

George Manahan headshot

George Manahan

Conductor

Goran Jarvefelt headshot

Göran Järvefelt

Director

Production

Ken Cazan headshot

Ken Cazan

Director

Carl Friedrich Oberle headshot

Carl Friedrich Oberle

Scenic & Costume Designer

Craig Miller headshot

Craig Miller

Lighting Designer

Gary Wedow headshot

Gary Wedow

Chorus Master