14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
An all-round success,
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This review is from: Mozart - Le Nozze Di Figaro [DVD]  (DVD)
The play by Beaumarchais on which the opera is based was banned in Vienna presumably because Figaro told the Count that only an accident of birth gave him position and fortune. Otherwise he would be a mediocre nobody. Whereas he (Figaro, a mere servant) has enough knowledge and skill to rule all the provinces of Spain. Hardly "Death to the aristocrats!" but too incendiary for the time. Mozart and da Ponte turned it into a comedy in which emotions sometimes take a more serious turn and sometimes there are social undertones.
We are told in the usual pretentious way when a director substitutes his concept for the composer's that this production "is set in 1830s post-revolution France where the inexorable unravelling of the old order has produced acute feelings of loss."
Fortunately this is not emphatic enough to spoil enjoyment. In fact the staging is excellent with many imaginative touches. Act 4 with characters wandering around pretending not to see and recognise one another cannot work on the stage. The director's idea to lower cutout trees into the hall and scatter leaves around is just a baffling mess.
Singing, acting, playing and conducting are all very good. (Miah Persson as Susanna is quite outstanding.) What a relief that Antonio Pappano does not feel the need to show us how fast or slow Mozart can be played. Mozart always welcomed improved sound. He would surely love the perfection of modern instruments, the brightness of higher pitch, the tasteful use of vibrato etc. He would laugh at the insistent period instrument brigade. If the conductor occasionally fails to turn a phrase with real magic, well, as a world famous pianist said of playing Mozart's music: "Too easy for a child, too difficult for an adult." Pappano does make the forgiveness by the Countess (one of the greatest moments in all opera) deeply moving.