The Marriage of Figaro
“The Craziest Day”
- Susanna, the Countess' maid (soprano)
Aaron Taylor - Figaro, the Count’s valet (baritone)
Walker - The Countess- (soprano)
Holmes - Count Almaviva- (baritone)
- Cherubino, the page (mezzo-soprano)
- Marcellina, Mistress of Dr.
Bartolo's Manor (mezzo-soprano)
Rupp - Dr. Bartolo- (bass)
Isai Jess Muñoz - Don Basilio and Don Curzio, the
- Antonio, the gardener (bass)
Barbarina, the gardener's daughter (soprano)
Townspeople, peasants, servants & bridesmaids
Figaro explores territory that many found worrisome when it was
written in the mid-1780s — the often contentious relationship
between the classes. That's why the original play by Beaumarchais
was banned by ruling authorities in France, and why Mozart's opera
made the Austrian monarchy more than a little bit nervous. Both the
play and the opera clearly illuminate the limitations of rank and
privilege, showing us that common sense can readily overcome wealth
and power, and that genuine humility easily upstages unwarranted
Beaumarchais’ play, The Marriage of Figaro, is a sequel to his
earlier play, Barber of Seville, (basis for Rossini’s opera) in
which a young nobleman named Almaviva won his lover, Rosina, away
from her lecherous guardian, Dr. Bartolo — but only with
considerable help from his friend Figaro. As The Marriage of Figaro
begins, three years have passed. The young lovers are now the Count
and Countess Almaviva. Figaro is the Count's personal valet, and
he's engaged to marry the Countess' maid, Susanna.
ACT 1: Figaro and Susanna are preparing for their
wedding. He and his bride are slated to occupy a room between the
private chambers of the Count and the Countess. Figaro thinks that
will work out just fine. Susanna thinks otherwise. She tells Figaro
that the Count has been making advances toward her. In their new
room, all he'll have to do is lure Figaro away on some errand, and
the Count will be right next door to press his lecherous demands.
Figaro hesitates to believe that his old friend, the Count, could
have anything so nefarious in mind. But when Susanna convinces him,
Figaro begins to display the same cunning and confidence that were
his trademark in The Barber of Seville, with tricks of his own up
We then meet Figaro's old nemesis, Dr. Bartolo, and his housekeeper,
the aging Marcellina. Figaro has borrowed money from Bartolo, but he
had no collateral. To secure the loan, he had agreed to marry
Marcellina if he couldn't pay his debt. Now the debt is due, and
Bartolo demands that Figaro fulfill that obligation.
While Susanna is alone in her room, the young page Cherubino rushes
in. He's in the throes of adolescent ardor, and says he's
desperately in love with the Countess. But he has also been caught
with one of the servant girls, and the Count is hot on his heels.
Don Basilio, the music teacher, gossips about both the Count’s
attentions to Susanna and Susanna’s flirtation with Cherubino. When
the Count appears, Cherubino hides, then eavesdrops on the Count's
latest proposition for Susanna. When the Count finds him, he
banishes Cherubino to the army.
ACT 2: Rosina, the Countess Almaviva, is upset
about her marriage, which is on the rocks. Her husband is not only
scheming to prevent the wedding of their servants, Figaro and
Susanna, but is also planning to have Susanna for himself. Yet,
despite his behavior, the Countess still loves her husband, and her
unhappiness colors the opening number of Act 2.
She's joined by Susanna and Cherubino. Together, the three hatch a
plan. Cherubino will dress up as Susanna. The Count will be lured to
a meeting with this phony Susanna by a trumped-up letter, and the
Count's duplicity will be exposed.
As the two women are dressing Cherubino for his role, Susanna leaves
to find a ribbon. Then the Count knocks on the door. Rather than be
found alone with the Countess — and in drag, no less — Cherubino
ducks into a closet. When the Count enters, Cherubino knocks
something over. The Count hears this, and demands to know who is
hiding in that closet. The Countess tells him it's Susanna, but
refuses to let him see for himself. He angrily leaves to fetch a
crowbar to force open the locked closet door, and the Countess
follows to try and calm him down. When they're both gone, Susanna
slips back into the room — and into the closet — while Cherubino has
no choice but to leap out a window into the garden.
When the Count and Countess return, they are both amazed to see that
it actually is Susanna in the closet. The Countess is confused –-
but relieved. The Count is embarrassed and begs forgiveness for his
unseemly suspicions. When the gardener appears in a tizzy, saying
someone has just jumped out the window, Figaro comes to the rescue.
He says he's the one who took a flying leap into the carnations. He
also takes advantage of the Count's confusion to renew his demand
that the Count allow his marriage to Susanna. But Bartolo and
Marcellina join in. When they produce evidence that Figaro has
actually agreed to marry Marcellina, the Count gleefully cancels
ACT 3: Susanna hatches her latest scheme. She
pretends that she's finally willing to go along with the Count's
lascivious suggestions, and proposes a meeting later that night —
which was to be her wedding night — in the palace garden. The Count
eagerly agrees. But as she leaves, he overhears her talking to
Figaro and realizes the two have something up their sleeves.
Next there's a hearing to determine exactly who it is that Figaro is
legally bound to marry. When it looks like he's going to be stuck
with Marcellina, he claims that he can't marry her because he's
actually a nobleman, stolen from his parents at birth. He displays a
distinctive birthmark on his arm. Marcellina recognizes the mark,
and nearly faints. It turns out that Figaro is her and Bartolo’s
long-lost illegitimate son. Much to the Count's chagrin, Figaro is
off the hook and he and Susanna are free to be married at last.
Bartolo and Marcellina decide to marry and make it a double wedding.
Everyone leaves to prepare for the ceremony.
The Countess is left alone, wondering what happened to her formerly
happy marriage. Susanna joins her and the two write a letter to the
Count, inviting him to meet Susanna later, in the garden. They send
it off, sealed with a hairpin, instructing him to return the pin as
confirmation of the meeting. Figaro's wedding finally gets under
way, and during the confusion of the act's final ensemble, the Count
is handed the fateful letter from Susanna.
ACT 4: That night, in the garden, the servant girl,
Barbarina, is searching for something in the dark. Though she's
barely a teenager, she has already been the object of the Count's
attentions. Now she's acting as a courier between the Count and her
older cousin Susanna, who has just been married. She's looking for
the hairpin that sealed Susanna's letter — the Count has sent her to
return it. Her brief opening number suggests a young woman who is
disturbed at the adult world of amorous schemes that she's just now
As she searches, Figaro confronts her. When he discovers she's a
messenger between Susanna and the Count, he's devastated. Figaro is
convinced that Susanna is plotting to betray him, especially when he
hears her nearby, singing about her "lover" — though she's really
singing about Figaro.
Meanwhile, the Count is due any time for his rendezvous with
Susanna. To fool him, the Countess and Susanna have agreed to
exchange clothes for the evening. That way, when the Count goes into
his seduction routine, he'll be romancing his own wife without
Before long, Figaro figures the whole thing out, and decides to play
a joke of his own. He goes to Susanna, pretends he really does think
she's the Countess, and tries a few moves of his own. This enrages
Susanna, but just momentarily. She soon sees through him, and they
have a good laugh over it.
Things come to a head when the Count finally shows up, eager for his
tryst. First he tries to seduce his wife, thinking she's Susanna.
Then, when he sees Figaro with a woman he thinks is the Countess, he
self-righteously accuses her of infidelity. Susanna, still imitating
the Countess, begs the Count for forgiveness. He refuses. At that,
the Countess reveals herself, and the Count realizes he is trapped.
Humbled and repentant, it's his turn to ask for pardon. The Countess
generously embraces him, and the opera ends with both couples
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