Mozart Le Nozze di Figaro
This is an attractive ‘period’ production, staged with bright, warm colours (all the more vivid in Blu-ray). The cast is good with some very fine singing from Ludovic Tézier (the Count), Marina Comparato (Cherubino), Raúl Giménez (Basilio) and Soledad Cardoso (Barbarina). Luca Pisaroni (Figaro) is also effective except for a tendency to sing behind the beat (in ‘Se vuol ballare’, for example) – and Barbara Frittoli as the Countess makes a beautiful sound, though her consonants are often underplayed. Isabel Rey (Susanna) has a somewhat constricted tone which relaxes a little as the opera goes on; she acts well, though she is a bit too forthright to be coquettish.
This ‘complete’ version does contains all of the arias for the minor characters – though it is unlikely that Marcellina’s ‘Il capro’, or Bartolo’s ‘La vendetta’ were actually sung at the 1786 premiere – and it restores the 11 bars usually omitted from the duet, ‘Aprite, presto aprite’. Emilio Sagi’s direction clarifies the action, though there is some theatrical dissonance between the insistence on a coarse commedia dell’arte slapstick relationship between Susanna and Marcellina, and the profoundly moving approach to the Countess’s aria, ‘Porgi amor’, which goes way beyond conventional buffa pathos. The conductor Jesús Cobos rarely misses a trick – one exception being his bland treatment of the swinging bass line in the ‘recognition’ sextet which is supposed to mirror the tug-of-war between the participants. The ‘extras’ consists of two interviews (with the director and conductor) which, though brief, are illuminating.