by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
- Le Mariage de FigaroFROM PLAY TO OPERA (Court politics included)
- Written in 1778 by French playwright Pierre-Augustin de Beaumarchais
- Sequel to The Barber of Seville (1775)
- Banned in pre-revolutionary Paris because it satirized the established social order
- Finally allowed to be performed in Paris in 1784
- Was being prepared for performance in Vienna in 1785 but it was forbidden by
Emperor Joseph II- Freeing himself from Archbishop Colloredo in Salzburg, Mozart moved to ViennaSTYLE
- Wrote The Abduction from the Seraglio in 1782 for the Court Theater (Emperor
Joseph II had established a German opera in Vienna)
- Soon after, the singspiel company was dissolved
- Antonio Salieri, Court Composer, persuaded the Emperor to reorganize the theater
along Italian lines
- Lorenzo da Ponte, upon recommendation of Salieri, had been appointed Court Poet
after Metastasio's death
- Da Ponte had recently fallen out of favor with the court when a collaboration with
Salieri (Il Ricco d'un giorno ) flopped
- Mozart needed a librettist and Da Ponte needed a composer
- They came together on The Marriage of Figaro
- Da Ponte cleverly omitted all offensive passages and after hearing some of the
music, the Emperor ordered the performance
- Mozart wrote the entire opera in six weeks (between mid-October and the end of
- The opera director, Count Orsini-Rosenberg, insisted that Figaro wait - Salieri and
another composer, Vincenzo Righini, had operas ready
- Rivalry and discord erupted - parties were formed and lines drawn - everyone in the
opera company joined in the feud
- His Majesty issued a mandate that Figaro was to be instantly put into rehearsal
- It was soon brought to Rosenberg's attention, by a Salieri partisan, that Figaro
had a ballet in the third Act (ballet was banned in the Court Theater by the
- Da Ponte refused to omit it and Rosenberg tore out the pages containing it and
threw them in the fire (the ballet was a dance at Figaro's wedding and provided a
backdrop for unspoken action)
- Da Ponte succeeded in having the Emperor attend the dress rehearsal - upon seeing
the silent action on the stage, the Emperor questioned Da Ponte, who explained,
and the ballet was restored by order of His Majesty
- At the premiere, on May 1, 1786, the Salieri clique tried to ruin the first Act by
singing off pitch, omitting lines and missing cues
- Joseph II had a good ear for music as well as rebellion, and informed Rosenberg
that the future of the Italian opera company depended on a satisfactory performance
- The public demanded so many encores, the performance lasted almost twice as long
- After the premiere, all da capos were prohibited - allegedly in order to save the
- After only nine performances the work was shelved
- Figaro was presented in Prague the next winter (Dec. 1786) to overwhelming
- This tremendous success landed Mozart the commission for another opera -
Don Giovanni, and a repeat production of Figaro in Vienna in 1789- Considered opera buffa but includes many elements of opera seriaMUSIC (Excerpts)
- Prominent use of secco recitative as well as accompanied recitative
- A comic rhythm is prominent throughout -
a balanced situation is presented
a disruption upsets the balance
the characters react and strike a new balance
only to have another disruption
- This pattern (noted above) can be seen in the music as well as the plot
- With music, Mozart made his characters real people, not crude farcical
- More character delineation is done in ensembles than in arias (not an easy task)
- His humor was refined- not just derived from situations, but from characterizations
as well, intermingled with seriousness that contributes to all great comedy
- His finales are not just successions of pieces with the appropriate tempi, but
they are truly symphonic in nature
- The musical material is developed in the same manner as that of a symphony with a
definite relationship between principle and subordinate elements as well as
continuity and unity arising from an overall plan of tempo and key centers
Dmaj - Amaj - Dmaj
- No. 1 - "Cinque... dieci..."
Duettino - Figaro and Susanna
Gmaj - Dmaj - Gmaj
- No. 3 - "Se vuol ballare"
Cavatina - Figaro
Fmaj - Cmaj - Fmaj
- No. 7 - "Cosa sento! Tosto andate"
Terzetto - Count, Basilio, and Susanna
1st subject (m. 5) - B flat maj.
2nd subject (m. 43) - F maj.
Development (m. 70)
False Recapitulation and Recitative (m. 101) - B flat maj.
1st subject (m. 147) - B flat maj.
2nd subject (m. 168) - B flat maj.
Coda (m. 201) - B flat maj.
- No. 9 - "Non piu andrai"
Aria - Figaro
C maj - G maj - C maj - G maj - C maj
- No. 11 - "Voi che sapete"
Arietta - Cherubino
Exposition (m. 1-20) - Bflat maj.
Middle Section (m 21-61) - F maj - Aflat maj - Gmaj
Recapitulation (m. 62-79) - Bflat maj
- No. 15 - "Esci omai, garzon malnato"
ACT II Finale - Count, Countess, Susanna, Figaro, Antonio, Marcellina,
Bartolo, and Basilio
E flat maj - B flat maj - G maj - C maj - F maj - B flat maj - E flat maj
- No. 28 - "Pian, pianin le andro piu presso"
ACT IV Finale - Entire Cast
D maj - Gmaj - E flat maj - B flat maj - G maj - D maj