Le Nozze Di Figaro as I've said quite a few times has always been one of my favourites. This production is not my first choice, that's between the 1975 Ponnelle film, and the 1973, 1993 and 1994 productions. However it is entertaining enough, with magnificent music and very good singing. Visually it mostly works, especially for acts 2 and 3. On the other hand, act 4 is rather confusing and perhaps too brightly lit. The costumes are mostly fine, apart from the Countess whose chemise and sleeveless gown seemed out of place to me.
The staging is suitably complicated with the hiding in chairs, slipping into the room unseen by others and the smacking someone-missing-and-someone-else is convincing. The best touch for me was Cherubino making his escape by diving into the orchestra pit(hope nobody got hurt though. Musically, the orchestra are stylish and playful, the oboe solo in Dovo Sono is especially good, with Rene Jacobs delivering one of more exuberant conducting jobs of this score I've heard or seen.
I liked the performances on the whole. Luca Pisaroni sings Figaro beautifully, but he is a tad wooden. Pietro Spagnoli fares better, his voice is strong, is wonderful in the ensembles and is a good actor, though perhaps he is not quite as menacing as some. Bartolo is rather young, but is still very good with some effective pattering in his act 1 aria. Basilio and Antonio are solid. Rosemary Joshua is a beautiful, charming Susanna, and Annette Dasch sings lyrically and wonderfully as the Countess if occasionally wayward.
Angelika Kirschlager is maybe a little too pretty for Cherubino but the role has plenty of allure and is very convincing. Marcellina is young and beautiful, and excellently sung, it was an interesting idea but I wasn't entirely sure whether it would make the sarcasm duet between her and Susanna quite as believable(doesn't Susanna make a dig at her age at one point?) Overall, entertaining if not absolutely perfect. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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