So last time we did a live stream research party where we looked up some info about the composer behind the seasonal traditional play called…”The Nutcracker”. Problem is we didn’t think of write any of that. Cause we’re a dweeb?
Anyway..this time we’re doing the research ahead of time and putting it here. Cause marketing? Casual observance? Making it easier for our pack?
Here we go:
The Marriage of Figaro/ Le nozze di Figaro
Our boi Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart did this scandoulus opera in 1786. Compossed of 4 acts, which is rather long (2x as long as Nutcracker) this comedic lesson in morality is a staple in the repertoire of opera students and masters alike.
Let’s talk about Mozart for a minute.
pictured below age 5
This dude…omg this flipping rockstar… At age 5 he was composing and performing in front of European royalty. Like most teenagers at age 17 Mozzie boi got restless and left his highly coveted and seriously comfortable ( I’m talking he already had retirement figured out) job as a musician at the Salzburg court. He ended up loosing that kush job.
I gotta talk about this lil bit of history to give you a sense of this legend’s personality.
Apparently Mozart had an extreme dislike for the soprano Adriana Ferrarese del Bene, for whom the role of Fiordiligi was first created. She had a strange tendency to drop her chin and throw back her head while singing low and high notes respectively, and knowing this, Mozart chose to fill her showpiece aria (“Come scoglio”) with constant harmonic leaps. Presumably he took great pleasure in watching her bob her head “like a chicken”.(via- OperaOmaha)
That lil site is full of stories.
Back to Le Nozze di Figaro-
This opera started as highly political.Not to mention that the French Revolution was in a slow brew at this point(1786- French Revolution started in 1789) It was made as a exhibition of classism. I mean…the dude who employs Figaro basically says ,”give me your future wife as my own or you’re fired.” That’d never fly nowadays but back then it was common place enough for someone to get mad enough to take a stand. The original was created by Pierre Beaumarchais and was intended to be a stage comedy. When Mozzie boi got word of it he figured out how much of an incredible statement it was making and had to make it famous. (That’s right..the dude who tells poop jokes in his music took a political stand.)
The work premiered May 1 1786 at the Burgtheater in Vienna(pictured below) Fun Facts: this is one of the most important theaters in the world. The theater company that resides there has created it’s own traditional style and speech called Burgtheater-German. As the national theater of Austira how could someone expect anything less.
The applause opening night was so appreciative that the cast had to perform 5 encores and then 7 the next week! As a stagehand I probably would have cried with happiness. This unfortunately brought the length of the opera to the attention of authorties and well…they banned performances to perform songs that had more than 1 voice. So those big musical numbers where the entire gang has a party? Cut for time because the opera was too dam good. Posters were quickly printed and thrown up by the 3rd performance May 24th to try to help avoid the lengthy performances that the numerous encores encouraged. Though…eh..art was much more loved then so while the edict existed it wasn’t strictly enforced. It went on for a grand total of 9 performances in 1786.
The short story now that we know a bit of history?
The original opera was much more influential than we might have originally thought. Sure it’s a cutesy fun thing but the message of the play was beyond clear. It helped stir of the pot of revolution and really isn’t that what art is supposed to be?