Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Marriage of Figaro

Last night I watched 'The Marriage of Figaro' on DVD. More lingua Italia, thank heavens for sub-titles! The whole art of Opera has been made much more accessible and comprehendable through DVD sub-titles. Nowadays super-text is also projected overhead at theatrical productions. At 140 minutes another marathon viewing session.

Mozart's opera Le Nozze di Figaro (K 492 ) concerns itself with sexuality in relation to social standing. There's some strong social comment going on here, as well as some heavenly harmonies and melodies. The production I watched was from 1993, with the Welsh singer Bryn Terfel in the role of Figaro and John Elliot Gardiner conducting the English baroque soloists . Imagine my surprise when near the denouement or unraveling of 2 hours of intrigue, deception, true love tested and attempted seduction, Figaro sings the following lines-

Fair Venus has gone in,
Her lover Mars will follow in,
Like a modern Vulcan,
I will catch them in my net.

It looks as if the Greek myth of Venus and Mars entangled by Vulcan's net was still in common stock in the eighteenth century, though credit where credit's due, it would have been the dramatist and librettist Beaumarchais who was familiar with the Greek myth, not Mozart. Beaumarchais wrote his scandalous play in 1784, the Mozart adaptation followed swiftly, its premiere was on May 1, 1786 . It was a great triumph for the composer, an instant hit and a box-office sell-out in Vienna. Cherubino's aria and maybe more from The Marriage of Figaro can be found on my Modern Dance and Ballet Videos page.
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