Let’s All Go to a Wedding

Rebekah Staff Image

You look great, you sound great, and you’re still funny after 231 years! Pittsburgh Opera continues its 2017-2018 season with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. Follow the crazy plot as you root for the young lovers, Figaro and Susanna, and hope the philandering Count Almaviva learns his lesson. Many critics call this opera the “perfect” opera for its wonderful blend of laugh-out-loud comedy and sublime music. Mozart also uses his opera to comment on gender and class issues, issues that are still relevant today.

Explore more about The Marriage of Figaro through the CD, DVD and book recommendations on this list. Enjoy the opera!

The Marriage of Figaro (1983)

This recording boasts a powerhouse cast, including Kiri Te Kanawa as the Countess, Lucia Popp as Susanna and Samuel Ramey as Figaro.

The Marriage of Figaro (2004)

A Grammy winner for Best Opera Recording in 2005, this recording features an orchestra playing period instruments (18th century) and crackles with the energy of a live performance.

The Marriage of Figaro (2010)

Sets and costumes designed by the legendary Jean-Pierre Ponnelle are featured in this production which also showcases Kathleen Battle as Susanna and, in my opinion, one of the best mezzo-sopranos as Cherubino, Frederica von Stade.

The Marriage of Figaro (2013)

The story’s action is moved from the 18th century to the 1960s in this production from Glyndebourne. Isabel Leonard as Cherubino almost steals the show.

The Marriage of Figaro

Includes several essays, a guide to musical themes in the opera and side-by-side Italian and English texts.

Mozart and His Operas

Cairns’ unique biography traces Mozart’s life and creative output through his operas.  Cairns discusses how Mozart matured as an artist with each opera and writes about how his strength as a composer of great theater influences his instrumental works as well, particularly his piano concertos and string quartets. The chapter that highlights The Marriage of Figaro describes Mozart’s new partnership with the librettist, Lorenzo Da Ponte as a “perfect marriage.” Many consider this work to be Mozart’s operatic masterpiece.

Mozart: A Cultural Biography

Gutman’s biography, as the title suggests, discusses Mozart’s life in relation to eighteenth-century Europe — the politics, the social scene and the artistic trends. The last chapters of the book cover Mozart’s time in Vienna; The Marriage of Figaro was composed during that time of his life. A good read.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: A Biography

Written during the 250th anniversary year of Mozart’s death, Melograni’s biography is a wonderful addition to the many volumes written about the composer. Avoiding in-depth musical analyses, Melograni instead weaves the texts of Mozart’s letters throughout his narrative to create a thoroughly enjoyable account of the artist’s life. A great read for the music lover or novice.

Experiencing Mozart: A Listener's Companion

Music historian David Schroeder tells the reader about the issues Mozart explored in his compositions and how these issues still resonate today: politics, gender conflicts, power struggles and religion. The chapter, “Revolutionary thoughts about women and power: Figaro and Cosi,” talks about the conflicts between women and men in these operas and in Mozart’s society, but also takes us deeper into the musical language used throughout both works. The entire book is a wonderful way to introduce someone to Mozart or to reacquaint the seasoned reader/listener with his musical output.