The Marriage of Figaro

Overview – Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro)

For me, opera begins with Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) – the first of three Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Lorenzo Da Ponte collaborations (the other two were Don Giovanni and Così fan tutte). Of course there were many operatic masterpieces before this 1786 work, even a couple by Mozart himself (Idomeneo and Die Entführung aus dem Serail, for instance), but there’s something special about Le Nozze, a work that has never been out of the standard repertory. Premiering three years before the French Revolution, Le Nozze is a product of the Enlightenment, a time when reason ruled and liberty, fraternity, and equality were ideals worth fighting for.

Opera Sense recommended recordings of Le Nozze di Figaro:



What is recitative?

You may have heard the term recitative when you hear people talk about opera, but what exactly is recitative? This is my definition of recitative – any semi-spoken, semi-sung non-repetitive part of an opera that advances the action. Typically, the earlier the opera is, the easier it is to distinguish between recitative and other operatic sections, such as arias or ensemble pieces.

Don’t just take my word for it; listen to the great Leonard Bernstein talk about recitative…