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Archive for the ‘The Barber of Seville’ Category

[ATTENDED: May 2, 2014] The Figaro Plays: The Marriage of Figaro

marriageAfter last night’s unexpectedly hilarious Barber of Seville, my expectations were much higher for The Marriage of Figaro.

For a brief explanation of these plays, see yesterday’s post.

The Marriage of Figaro is set three years after The Barber of Seville.  [It must be said that the promotional material said they could be seen in any order, but a lot from Barber is referenced in Marriage and since it is set three years later, it really does behoove you to see Barber first].  The situation is interesting: Count Almaviva and Rosine are still married, although the Count is sleeping around and the Countess is despondent (so much for that rush of first love).  But the main plot concerns Figaro.

Figaro is living with them (as Almaviva’s right hand man) and is set to marry the Countess’ Lady in Waiting, Suzanne.  Figaro is gloriously happy, as is Suzanne.  And they cannot wait to get married.  So, unlike the previous play, there are no shenanigans trying to get them together behind the back of someone else.  The shenanigans are of a slightly different sort.

For Suzanne reveals to Figaro that the reason the Count has given them this glorious space in the chateau–which is but mere feet away from the Count’s private room–is that he plans to deflower Suzanne on the night of her wedding to Figaro.  This was, apparently, the Count’s privilege at the time.  Although Count Almaviva ended that policy when he married Rosine.  But he seems ready to reinstate it now.

Figaro doesn’t believe it at first, but is soon convinced.  The Count wants to meet Rosine in the garden on her wedding night.  And so she and Figaro (with the help of Rosine) decide to hatch a plot.  And that’s just one of many plots in this sequel which is much more complicated, has a much bigger cast and pushes three hours in length. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: May 1, 2014] The Figaro Plays: The Barber of Seville

barber2I won tickets to see The Figaro Plays at McCarter Theater.  And yes, there are two different plays going on at the same time. I have to say, I’m super impressed that they put on two Figaro plays on alternating days starring many of the same actors—how complicated must that be?

The Figaro Plays are, well, I’ll let the McCarter site, explain:

Stephen Wadsworth makes his triumphant return to McCarter Theatre with The Figaro Plays, two thrilling new translations of the great farces that inspired Mozart and Rossini’s operas: The Marriage of Figaro and The Barber of Seville…. Wadsworth brings his genius to these two delightfully scathing social satires. Figaro, the famous barber, has his hands full with schemes, plots, and a master who chases all the wrong women. Lush, lively, and a little bit naughty, these plays are chock-full of hilarious misunderstandings, passion, disguises, and sumptuous period costumes.

The plays were written by Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, um …who? He wrote three plays about Figaro and Count Almaviva: Le Barbier de Séville, Le Mariage de Figaro, and La Mère coupable.  And so Wadsworth translated, arranged and directed two (I don’t know if the third one was too much to do or not very good or what–according to Wikipedia, it is rarely performed, and the synopsis doesn’t sound great)

So you have certainly heard of these two The Barber of Seville or the Useless Precaution (written in 1773) was turned into Gioachino Rossini’s opera, The Barber of Seville (1816).  The Marriage of Figaro (written in 1778) was turned into the opera Le nozze di Figaro, ossia la folle giornata (The Marriage of Figaro, or The Day of Madness), K. 492, composed in 1786 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,

So that’s a lot of background information, and I knew none of it before seeing this first play.  I wasn’t even sure if there would be music or not.  So no, they were not the operas, indeed, Barber has no music (well, one love song strummed on a guitar).

And it was hilarious. (more…)

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