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Cat. No. CHAN 3113(3) Price: £18 No. of discs: 3
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CHAN 3113 - Mozart: The Marriage of Figaro
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Available From: 09 August 2004
According to Beaumarchais, Figaro is aged about thirty. Mozart was also thirty in 1786, when his opera The Marriage of Figaro was first performed. There are obvious further parallels between the composer and the fictitious rather-too-able servant on rather-too familiar terms with his social superiors. It must therefore be a mistake to portray Figaro as the fall guy in this opera. Admittedly, he is prone to act and speak even faster than he thinks, but starting the action is his function in the plot. By contrast, the others are all relatively passive, awaiting the outcome of events. It is, after all, Figaro’s marriage, as the title of the opera reminds us. It is also Susanna’s. Her native wit complements Figaro’s acquired ingenuity. She sees through the ‘convenience’ of the room they have been allotted, and Count Almaviva’s plan to take them with him on his embassy to London. She reacts quickly to cover up Cherubino’s escape from the Countess’s closet.

She finds the means to pay off Figaro’s debt to Marcellina. Indeed, it is easy to see Susanna as the central character of the opera. Hers is certainly the longest role, but it is not just the quantity of notes that counts. One of the most wonderful aspects of Mozart’s genius is his ability to draw and colour women as convincingly as men. It is a skill not shared by so many other male composers, nor by too many writers for that matter. The idealised woman, Goethe’s ‘ewig Weibliche’, is the bane of much nineteenth-century opera and literature. In the twentieth century, few composers apart from Janácek and Berg share Mozart’s precious gift.
Reviews

'Even those who normally resist opera in translation should try it: Jeremy Sams's lively translation is so refreshing in the context of a performance outstandingly well cast. David Parry has established his Mozart credentials in earlier issues, and his timing of the comedy here is impeccable'The balance with the soloists is excellent too: words are clear, notably from the men, and the complex plot is well conveyed''
Gramophone

'There's thrilling modern-instrument playing from the Philharmonia and Parry holds the whole thing together, doubling as pianist for the accompanied recitative.'
Classic FM 'Disc of the Month' October 2004

'The latest addition to Chandos' Opera in English series finds Parry and his singers on lively form. Their delight at perfoming this incomparable music, and in their own language (Jeremy Sam's racy translation), shines out.'
Sunday Times

'I don't think a Figaro recording has ever made me laugh so much. David Parry paces the drama shrewdly and always ecourages true, firm singing from his cast' If you think you are allergic to opera in translation, this delightful performace could make you think again.'
The Telegraph

As a performance, it is on a very high level – closer to the lofty peak than you might expect. And because the singers’ diction is crisp and the recorded sound clear, you can actually understand virtually all of the text Jeremy Sams’s incisive translation. The result is a performance that communicates with incomparable directness, and for those listeners to whom that matters, this set is essential.
Fanfare

'The bafflingly complex plot that Da Ponte developed from Beaumarchais's play is wonderfully clarified, and the fun of the piece is heightened by hearing the text in English, a point very well made in David Parry's sparkling performance with the Philharmonia, using Jeremy Sam's lively translation.'
The Guardian

 

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