The action in Mozart’s comic masterpiece takes place in Count Almaviva’s palace in Seville on the wedding day of his servants Figaro and Susanna. The Count has given the couple a room so that he can readily exercise his feudal right to seduce every servant girl before her wedding night. Figaro hatches a cunning plan to outwit him.
Colombian Baritone Jacobo Ochoa is a gleefully guileful Figaro. He is at his best when he collars the cheeky, hormonally-challenged page boy Cherubino – a hilarious bit of knockabout with mezzo-soprano Angharad Lyddon – teasing the ‘amorous butterfly’ that his days of pestering the ladies are at an end and he is about to be drafted into the army.
Cherubino’s aria Voi che sapete che cosa è amor... (You [ladies], who know what love is...) expresses the underlying theme of Mozart’s great and ever-popular comic opera. Spanish soprano Lorena Paz Nieto is a high-spirited and vivacious Susannah.
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Russian soprano Galina Averina is mesmerising as the Countess. Her aria Dove sono i bei moment... (Where are the beautiful moments...), as she reflects sadly on her dysfunctional marriage, is immensely touching; her duet with Paz Nieto, as they plot together to beat the Count at his own game, is a captivating blend of glorious voices.
Baritone Nicholas Morris, as the Count, holds it all together with great stage presence and characterises persuasively the exasperation of a man outmanoeuvred at every turn. When he complains exasperatedly that he is having the worst day, we know exactly what he means.
Canadian lyric bass Trevor Eliot Bowes, as Figaro’s nemesis Doctor Bartolo, has a delicious chocolatey quality to his voice. Jeni Bern is delightful as Marcellina.
Director and designer Richard Studer and conductor Jonathan Lyness keep the pace and action rattling along.
The summer season of eight productions ends with Gaetano Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore on July 30 and 31. For more information go to westgreenhouseopera.co.uk.