Le Nozze di Figaro review at Grange Festival – ‘a visually elegant and clearly directed production’
It’s refreshing to encounter a Marriage of Figaro set in period and – even more precisely – in Seville.
Designer Tim Reed creates elegant interiors, though Peter Mumford’s lighting does not really allow the identities of the disguised characters in the nocturnal final scene to be credibly hidden from one another.
Martin Lloyd-Evans’ direction, meanwhile, maintains a consistently clear narrative line.
The cast is stronger on the male side. Toby Girling’s volatile Almaviva is founded on a resilient baritone. In determined contention with him is Italian bass-baritone Roberto Lorenzi’s sharply defined Figaro. Old hands Jonathan Best and Richard Suart deliver closely observed character studies as Bartolo and Antonio respectively, and Ben Johnson’s Basilio thankfully avoids the still lingering camp stereotype.
As Almaviva’s neglected wife, Romanian soprano Simona Mihai’s seriousness tends to push the character too far towards tragedy, while vocally she experiences the odd hesitant moment. Ellie Laugharne’s personality-girl Susanna’s sheer busyness occasionally seems applied from without, but her vibrant tone is a distinct asset.
Wallis Giunta’s Cherubino balances the layered artifice of appearing boyish while more than once playing a boy playing a girl; her innate vocal warmth lends her pubertal pageboy a winning appeal. Louise Winter’s game Marcellina and Rowan Pierce’s manipulative Barbarina are equally focused.
The Academy of Ancient Music is conducted by its music director, Richard Egarr. A handful of wrong notes and Egarr’s mannered penchant for speeding up or slowing down are disconcerting; but in general his sense of period style adds to the character of the music-making.
We need your help…
When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.
The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.
We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.
Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.