Le nozze di Figaro – Opera buffa in four Acts to a libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte after the comedy La folle journée, ou Le mariage de Figaro, by Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais [sung in Italian, with Met titles by Sonya Friedman]
Figaro – Adam Plachetka
Susanna – Christiane Karg
Doctor Bartolo – Maurizio Muraro
Marcellina – Katarina Leoson
Cherubino – Serena Malfi
Count Almaviva – Luca Pisaroni
Don Basilio – Robert McPherson
Countess Almaviva – Rachael Willis-Sørensen
Antonio – Paul Corona
Don Curzio – Scott Scully
Barbarina – Hyesang Park
Metropolitan Opera Chorus
Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera [continuo: Linda Hall (harpsichord) & David Heiss (cello)]
Sir Richard Eyre – Production
Rob Howell – Set & Costume Design
Paule Constable – Lighting
Sara Erde – Choreography
Jonathon Loy – Stage Direction
Reviewed by: Felix Mathers
Reviewed: 9 December, 2017
Venue: The Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center, New York City
This current Met cast for Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro brings youthful energy and voices to this light-hearted opera. Christiane Karg’s Susanna is full of innocence, her voice of clarity and beauty, and her every move seemed spontaneous and natural. Adam Plachetka is also a perfect match as Figaro; his portrayal does well to lean into the character’s attributes without overplaying them. These lovers, vocally and dramatically, are able to walk the fine line between subtlety while engaging the audience.
Luca Pisaroni and Rachael Willis-Sørensen as respectively the Count and Countess were equally at ease, he portraying the former’s thinly veiled insecurities, and she sensitive and gentle, while also wise and cunning. The rest of the cast, Serena Malfi’s Cherubino especially, all fulfill their roles with class and talent, working well together – intimacy between lovers, camaraderie between friends, and contempt between enemies.
However, Harry Bicket and the Orchestra did not do much to further the characters’ pursuits. The musicians were well-rehearsed to be sure, dynamics and balances worked out, and the playing was excellent per se but tempos could be so slow that at moments it felt as if the music might stop, losing the sense of dance that must be observed, and even the faster numbers were held back to such an extent that the orchestra – and therefore the singers – lost the impetus that should be inherent in this light and transparent music.
Of the production – entirely effective – aside from the appearance of a topless woman at the start, the directing marries tradition and modern extremely well, and with lighting that almost silhouettes the performers, and creates remarkable frozen images between scenes: one being so beautiful as to remind of Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of The Last Supper. There was never a moment when Jonathon Loy did not find some way to create movement, making for wonderful consistency. The set is simple yet engaging, a rotating stage with four separate rooms made of half-cylindrical, wrought-iron-like walls able to complement the transparency of the music.