Royal Opera's Nozze di Figaro revival is 'unadulterated joy'
This production of Mozart's comic opera about wily servants and lecherous counts is a complete treat
What you need to know
A revival of Mozart's comic opera Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) has opened at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden. The fourth revival of David McVicar's 2006 staging of the opera is directed by McVicar himself and conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner.
Mozart's 1786 opera, updated here to the 1830s, tells the story of a wily servant, Figaro, and his attempts to outwit his lecherous master, Count Almaviva. Figaro wants to marry his beloved Susanna, but the Count plans to exercise his 'droit du seigneur' and bed her first.
Luca Pisaroni stars as Figaro with Christopher Maltman as Count Almaviva (above). Until 7 October.
What the critics like
"This revival of Mozart's miraculous comedy is unadulterated joy," says Rupert Christiansen in the Daily Telegraph. Immaculately cast and meticulously rehearsed, the Royal Opera production is altogether a complete treat.
McVicar's revival is "played with delightful zest", says Richard Fairman in the Financial Times. McVicar's staging has a freshness of detail, and balances the comedy with the serious issues barely below the surface of Mozart's opera.
"You certainly won't hear Mozart better played than it is under John Eliot Gardiner," says Neil Fisher in The Times. The drama pivots on the two excellent male leads, Luca Pisaroni's Figaro — beautifully sung, and fizzing with Italianate wit — and Christopher Maltman's petulant Count, less Mr Darcy than Mr Nasty.
What they don't like
"Just occasionally McVicar allows the comedy to acquire the brittleness of farce," says Tim Ashley in The Guardian. And a 1780s setting might have brought a deeper sense of the impending downfall of an aristocracy that is rotten to the core. Even so, it's a richly rewarding evening – provocative, deeply moving and wonderfully humane. ·