Opera buffa by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Performed in Italian with German surtitles.
Figaro is installing himself in a room in the castle which Count
Almaviva has given him as a wedding present. His bride Susanna
explains that this generous gesture is not for his services as valet
but is intended to advance the Count’s designs on Susanna. As the
Count has waived the »Ius primae noctis«, the feudal prerogative of
the noble lord of the manor to the wedding night of a newly-married
bride, he tryes tor seduce Susanna. Marcellina too is endaugering the
forthcoming wedding. She possesses a written promise Figaro made to
marry her which he gave her as security against a loan of 1,000
ducats. She wishes to pressurise Figaro with this and force him to
marry her. Bartolo, who at one time with Figaro’s assistance,
abducted his ward, seeing the opportunity to take revenge on Figaro,
promises to assist Marcellina. The page Cherubino has been caught
making his adolescent conquests among the ladies of the castle and
banned by the Countess. While wishing to obtain the Countess’s
pardon, he witnesses the Count attempting to buy Susanna’s love. This
knowledge and Cherubino’s success with the ladies cause the Count to
render Cherubino harmless by having him called-up to the army. Figaro
has assembled the castle servants in order to ask the Count to
announce his marriage to Susanna. The Count evades this on the
pretext that he wishes to organise a magnificent celebration for the
young couple, and thus elegantly succeeds in postponing the wedding.
Figaro gives biting comments.
The Countess laments the unfaithfulness of her husband and feels he
neglects her. Figaro uses her despair to include the Countess as a
pawn in his attacks on the Count. The plan is to give the Count
reason to believe that the Countess has a secret relationship with
another man. At the same time, the amorous designs of the Count are
to be frustrated by Susanna granting the Count a rendezvous and the
disguised page Cherubino appearing in her place. Figaro reckons upon
an element of surprise which will bend the Count to his will. The
Countess and Susanna are surprised by the Count while dressing the
page for this plan. The Countess hides Cherubino in the dressing
room. A scandal is threatened because the Count wishes to forcibly
enter the closed dressing-room. In order not to allow the Countess
any opportunity to save the situation, he insists that she fetch
tools with him to open the door. Cherubino leaps out of the window
into the garden. Instead of discovering him in the dressing-room, the
Count and Countess find Susanna. However, the Count is not to be
convinced of the apparent harmlessness of events. His suspicion is
reinforced by the agitation caused by Figaro’s appearance. The
gardener Antonio reports that he saw somebody jumping out of the
window. Marcellina appears to claim her rights. The Count orders
legal clarification of the case and has thus once more reason to
postpone Figaro’s wedding.
After Figaro’s plans miscarry, the Countess and Susanna now wish to
take fate into their own hands. The Countess intends to exchange
clothes with Susanna and appear in her place at the nocturnal
rendezvous with the Count. In the meantime, the judge Don Curzio has
passed the following judgement upon Figaro: marry or pay. It is
revealed that Figaro is the son of Marcellina and Bartolo. The Count
looks on helplessly as they all unite against him. The Countess
impatiently awaits Susanna in order to learn the Count’s reaction.
She dictates a note which is intended to inform the Count where the
planned rendezvous is to take place. The maidens of the castle arrive
to open the marriage ceremony with their homage to the Countess.
Cherubino is discovered amongst them in disguise. The Count is
irritated to the extreme. With the invitation to the rendezvous
slipped into his hands, he regains his sovereignty. He orders that
preparations should be made for a sumptuous wedding celebration.
Barbarina has lost the brooch which sealed the note to the Count and which she was supposed to return to Susanna as a sign of his consent. Frightened of the Count, she confides in Figaro who knew nothing of the ladies’ plan of disguise. He believes he is being deceived, something for which Susanna shall pay. Cherubino discovers the supposed Susanna and believes he can demand from her what she promised the Count. The Count appears. The cuff on the ears intended for Cherubino strikes Figaro who is stealthily approaching them. The ladies’ plan unfolds. The Count flirts with the supposed Susanna and Figaro takes his revenge on the Countess. However, he recognizes his Susanna dressed in the Countess’s clothes by her voice. After the bridal pair are reconciled, the game is continued for the Count. He believes he has discovered the Countess with Figaro and calls the wedding guests together with the intention of exposing his wife before all those present. The Countess steps into the light. The Count begs her forgiveness. However, it is no longer possible for the cele-brations to come to a light-hearted end.