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1991 production photo from The Marriage of Figaro

The Marriage of Figaro 1991

June 29 - August 23, 1991

Once a revolutionary social commentary…

… Beaumarchais’ play about a Count, Countess and their plotting servants emerges from Mozart’s hands as an enchanting insight into the workings of the human heart.

Music By
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto By
Lorenzo da Ponte


Act I

Most of the characters in The Marriage of Figaro are already familiar to us from The Barber of Seville. Three years have passed, and Rosina is now living at the palace as Countess Almaviva. Figaro has joined the household as 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 gardener and his daughter, Barbarina; and Susanna, the Countess’ maid, whom Figaro intends to marry this day. However, Figaro has borrowed money from Marcellina and has promised either to repay the loan within a certain time or to marry her. The Count, in the meantime, has promised Susanna a handsome dowry hoping that she will give him the feudal lord’s right to the first night (jus primae noctis) of her own accord. 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. Marcellina has summoned Dr. Bartolo to the palace to enlist his aid in preventing the marriage. He promises his support, realizing that it is his chance to get his revenge upon Figaro, who thwarted Dr. Bartolo’s marriage to Rosina. Cherubino begs Susanna to plead his cause with the Countess: that he be allowed to remain in service. The Count, driven by jealousy, wants to dismiss Cherubino. The Count 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 out of his wits, has hidden. Figaro has now collected the servants to proceed with the wedding. Provocatively, 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. However, Figaro has a bright idea. On the sly, he asks the page to stay at the palace until evening.

Act II

The Countess’ boudoir (forenoon). Susanna has just told the Countess of the preceding events. She is very unhappy and longs to regain her husband’s love. Figaro presents a fresh plot against the Count: 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. As Cherubino is trying on the Countess’ clothes for the evening, the jealous 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 now causes trouble. He saw a man jump from the Countess’ window and drop a piece of paper; it is the page’s commission. Figaro convinces the Count that it was he who jumped out of the window. Marcellina and Dr. 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 between the parties. Figaro’s wedding is seriously threatened.


A hall in the palace (afternoon). The Countess decides to take action. She urges Susanna to invite the Count to a tryst in the park. The Countess will keep the assignation, wearing Susanna’s dress, and surprise the unfaithful Count. The Count soon realizes that he is being mocked. He will soon put an end to his servant’s impudence and avenge himself by backing Marcellina’s claim, forcing Figaro to either marry her or repay the loan. Once again, the Count’s plans are frustrated: it turns out that Marcellina and Dr. 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 holds to resolve 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, whose jealousy and fury have been reawakened, is forced to hold a double wedding: Figaro and Susanna; Dr. 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 Dr. 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’ 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!


Bryn Terfel

Bryn Terfel



Heidi Grant Murphy headshot

Heidi Grant Murphy



Sheri Greenawald headshot

Sheri Greenawald


Countess Almaviva

Michael Devlin

Michael Devlin


Count Almaviva

Susan Graham headshot

Susan Graham



François Loup headshot

François Loup


Dr. Bartolo

Joyce Castle headshot

Joyce Castle



Santa Fe Opera

John Fryatt


Don Basilio

John Kuether headshot

John Kuether



Darren Keith Woods headshot

Darren Keith Woods


Don Curzio

Lyndy Simons

Lyndy Simons



Christine Abraham headshot

Christine Abraham


Peasant Girl

Heidi Person

Heidi Person


Peasant Girl

Edo de Waart headshot

Edo de Waart


(June 29 - August 6)

George Manahan headshot

George Manahan


(August 10 - 23)

John Cox headshot

John Cox


Robert Perdziola headshot

Robert Perdziola

Scenic Designer

& Costume designer

Craig Miller headshot

Craig Miller

Lighting Designer

Rodney Griffin

Rodney Griffin


Gary Wedow headshot

Gary Wedow

Chorus Master