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    Marriage of Figaro – Act 1 Essay

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    This opera we watched as a class was quite an experience. It was initially a bit hard on the eyes to see in the dark as I was not able to take proper notes for the one page summary submission. This opera was composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and premiered in Vienna at the Burgtheater on May 1st 1786. The Marriage of Figaro was considered an instant success.

    The Marriage of Figaro was considered an instant success for not only being composed by Mozart, its bubbling overtures (orchestral composition forming the prelude or introduction to an opera), its brilliantly created arias (elaborate melody sung solo with accompaniment) and Mozart’s masterpiece of a score gave life to a tale of profound betrayal, love and forgiveness. We saw Act 1 where the setting was a room where Figaro and his fiancee Susanna were having discussion on their new bedroom and where the bedroom is located in perspective to that of the Count and Countess.

    They are also trying to build their nuptial bed. Susanna explains how the Count is plotting with her music teacher the as the middle person to be seduced by his promise of adoration. It is after this initial scene, I became a bit confused as to what else transpires during the Act. They were many repetitive sentences that were captions to correspond with each person during the opera. It was easier to read the emotion portrayed by each cast member than to try to keep up with the captions.

    I did enjoy the moment when both the Count and the young boy were hiding in the same location separated by sheets. At that very moment you the audience felt for the young boy as he was told to leave the castle. The confusion I had was to understand the difference between the issue of the dowry and a tradition the Count abolished. I was not sure during the opera what they were talking about. I had to research a bit to get clarity to put the opera in perspective.

    This opera did have a lot of betrayal and plot lines within one another. I think the best translation to understand this opera is if your native tongue is Italian. It would be easier to grasp the nuances, emotions and local customs that Mozart was trying to convey. The custom that Figaro was talking about was specifically called “feudal droit du seigneur. ” This is where the custom or right of the Lord (Count) of the manor/castle to sleep with his servant’s bride on her wedding night.

    It now makes sense how that scene being a tense moment of the Count, Susanna, the music teacher, the young boy and Figaro all comes together now. Figaro asks the Count for his blessing in having him present the bridal veil on Susanna. Among all the peasants, gifts being showered upon them and in all of that confusion that one moment embodies the title of the opera. Overall watching Act 1 was a bit confusing, repetitive and at times boring. Once I understood what was taking place on stage, I enjoyed Mozart’s opera.


    Le Nozze Di Figaro: Act I, Scene 1. Jennifer Sgroe, n.d. Web. 10 June 2015.

    Schwarm, Betsy. “The Marriage of Figaro | Opera by Mozart.” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, 21 Oct. 2014. Web. 11 June 2015.

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