Bristol Theatre Reviews

Review The Marriage of Figaro WNO at Bristol Hippodrome


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The Marriage of Figaro
Welsh National Opera WNO
Bristol Hippodrome
12/03/2020 at 19.00

Last night, I didn’t attend The Marriage of Figaro to review it. I went as a paying customer because the music is brilliant, the story is funny and the Welsh National Opera (WNO) are fab.

I always think of The Marriage of Figaro as a posh person’s Jeremy Kyle. It starts off simply enough. Susanna and Figaro are preparing to be married, after which it spirals out of control in a operatic plot of what could possibly go wrong. The Conte d’Almaviva is determined he’s going to sleep with Susanna, Figaro and Susanna are determined he isn’t.

Contessa d’Almaviva is depressed that her husband is sleeping his way around the household, but he becomes incredibly jealous at the thought of the youthful Cherubino – who has eyes for his wife – doing exactly the same thing.

Added complications grow at the arrival of Doctor Bartolo and Marcellina, who is determined she will be marrying Figaro due to a legal issue. As the drama builds, we have drunken gardeners getting in the way, people jumping out of windows, rows with future mother-in-laws, mistaken identity and the results of a paternity test Mozart era. It’s a happy ending with strong lessons learned about fidelity.

During the comic farce there are moments of seriousness. Women know they have the raw deal with their societal status, with marriage being the best chance at improving their lot. There’s moments of introspection and reflection. When marriage goes wrong it’s still up to the woman to sort out the mess despite their feelings of upset and despair.

Mozart’s music is so pure but it was captured perfectly through the entire cast and the WNO orchestra, last night conducted by Carlo Rizzi.

When the ones everyone knows such asĀ  Sull’aria… che soave zeffiretto and Voi Che Sapete were performed, it was like everyone held their breath to hear the notes soar.

I admit I know nothing about the technicalities of opera singing, but I do know Mozart, the music and know when I’m entertained and moved. Last night was brilliant. From the comic buffoonery of Figaro, the shrewd Susanna, the angst of the Contessa, the comedic rascal Cherubino and not forgetting the Chorus of the WNO, this is a fantastic production which perfectly balances the moments of darkness and light.

Cast included:
Figaro David Ireland
Susanna Soraya Mafi
Cherubino Anna Harvey
Conte d’Almaviva Jonathan McGovern
Contessa d’Almaviva Anita Watson
Doctor Bartolo Henry Waddington
Don Basilio Richard Roberts
Marcellina Leah-Marian Jones
Barbarina Harriet Eyley

It’s always worth popping along to see the WNO when it comes to the Bristol Hippodrome. For more information about future performances and forthcoming seasons, visit: