Salzburg - Mozart’s birthplace - or Vienna, where the opera was first performed, might disagree, but Glyndebourne knows that it owns The Marriage of Figaro. The festival began with this piece back in 1934, and the same work inaugurated the new theatre exactly 60 years later. Reaching its 486th performance by the company on the first night of Michael Grandage’s new production, Mozart’s most popular comedy looks set to have a good future at this address.
Isabel Leonard (Cherubino) and Lydia Teuscher (Susanna) in Le Nozze Di Figaro at Glyndebourne, Sussex Photo: Tristram Kenton
Grandage and his designer Christopher Oram gave Glyndebourne a triumphant Billy Budd two years ago, and return to stage this local speciality with verve and imagination. The period is the 1960s, the setting a grand Andalusian house inflected with Moorish architecture. The handsome sets work perfectly for the action and the singers delivering it.
Detailed dramatic performances focus attention anew on familiar characters and situations often far less expertly realised. The complex interplay of emotional and sexual tensions within and between the inhabitants of the Almaviva household is flawlessly conveyed.
Standout performances come from Isabel Leonard’s Cherubino, sung with individual tone and musical freshness, Vito Priante’s practical but insecure Figaro, Alan Oke’s lounge-lizard of a Basilio, Sally Matthews’s immaculately sung Countess and Andrew Shore’s know-it-all Bartolo. Lydia Teuscher’s wary Susanna, Audun Iversen’s moody, sexually frustrated Count and Ann Murray’s deeply human Marcellina add to the richness of the picture.
Yet curiously, even though Robin Ticciati conducts a period-instrument band - the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment - conscientiously, there are no vocal decorations to be heard.