Le Nozze Di Figaro is a masterpiece of opera and one of Mozart's finest(personal favourite alternates between it and Don Giovanni), and while there are better productions on DVD this Glyndebourne production was still very entertaining.
It is cleverly updated to the 60s, and still looks good, great even and the beautiful and intimate camera work helps. The sets are imaginative and the details they have(especially in the architecture) are remarkably real. If there was a standout, it would be the gorgeous wedding chamber. The lighting's rich and warm while never gaudy and the costumes suit the updated period very authentically without falling into trashy camp. Michael Grandage's stage direction is always entertaining and intelligent, in that it's true to the 60s setting while sticking true to the traditional spirit of the original opera setting, with quirky touches(the sports car during the overture). The only reservation being that the political aspects of the opera(social and sexual) could have been explored more and there are a few instances where the humour is a tad subdued. The production actually though is constant fun with most of the humorous parts hilarious, broad without being vulgar, but like with Dove Sono and the finale to Act 4 there is an emotional core too. But it's in the characterisation where the staging most excels with all the characters sharply defined, even in the supporting roles.
From a musical perspective, the production is outstanding with very stylish orchestral playing, with shimmering strings and remarkably vivid woodwinds(the horns). The chorus sing warmly and while their stage direction is not given anywhere near the same amount of detail as the leading and supporting roles they are hardly stolid either. Robin Ticcati's conducting is expansive and incisive, always giving energy while allowing the drama and comedy to resonate. The cast and their performances are superb, especially good were Vito Priante as a hearty and soulful Figaro with a rich voice(his Act 4 aria has so much fire and bite it's scary) and Sally Matthews as a poised and poignant Countess, singing with gleaming beauty and immaculate phrasing. Lydia Teuscher's Susanna is immensely charming and witty and she enjoys a very natural chemistry with Priante while Isabel Leonard is an appealingly impetuous and refreshingly sassy Cherubino, singing with much warmth(especially in Voi Che Sapete). Audun Iversen is a bit of a blusterer vocally but his Count is powerfully arrogant but also conflicted, never buffoonish. All the supporting roles are very well taken especially Alan Oke, who is hilarious and lizard-like, if a touch too sleazy at times, Basilio. Ann Murray looks and sounds wonderful as Marcellina and while a little worn vocally Andrew Shore is a dramatically robust Bartolo, a role that suits him well. Sarah Schafer's Barbarina is very sweet and thankfully not in a sugary way.
Overall, entertaining and musically outstanding Glyndebourne production of an operatic masterpiece. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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