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Mozart - The Marriage Of Figaro.pdf

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Matthew Woolhouse

18th Century Opera • there are number of distinct subgenres:  ◦ Buffa (italian, buffoon, comical, marriage of figaro)  ◦ Seria (italian, serious, greek and roman mythology)  ◦ Comique (french, like buffa) ◦ Singspiel (german, "sing-play," part acting part singing, "the magic flute" by mozart) ◦ Zarzuela (spanish, similar to Singspiel) • Composers expected to remain within sub genre (audience knows what they're going to get) • latter part of 18C opera reformed: composers and librettists (write the words) blended elements from each ◦ more inventive works - Mozart dispensed with da capo arias which broke up dramatic flow (of the head, goes back to beginning) • enlightenment-inspired plots relate to real life and social reform The Marriage of Figaro • Based on play by French dramatist Pierre Beaumarchais (1784) - play soon banned • The Marriage of Figaro is a continuation of the plot of The Barber of Seville several years later, and recounts a single "day of madness" (la folle giornata) in the palace of the Count Almaviva near Seville, Spain. Rosina is now the Countess; Dr. Bartolo is seeking revenge against Figaro for thwarting his plans to marry Rosina himself; and Count Almaviva has degenerated from the romantic youth of Barber into a scheming, bullying, skirt-chasing baritone. Having gratefully given Figaro a job as head of his servant- staff, he is now persistently trying to obtain the favors of Figaro's bride-to-be, Susanna. He keeps finding excuses to delay the civil part of the wedding of his two servants, which is arranged for this very day. Figaro, Susanna, and the Countess conspire to embarrass the Count and expose his scheming. He responds by trying to compel Figaro legally to marry a woman old enough to be his mother, but it turns out at the last minute that she is really his mother. Through Figaro's and Susanna's clever manipulations, the Count's love for his Countess is finally restored. • Mozart's librettist: Lorenzo da Ponte (also Don Giovanni and Cosi fan tutti) • italian language opera buffa first performed in Vienna, 1786 • Succesfull: admired by Haydn (aborted performance due to Prince Esterhazy death). Now cornerstone of modern opera
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