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La nozze di Figaro (Plymouth)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Mozart’s perennial farce La nozze di Figaro, complete with an abundance of doors and misunderstandings, is given the Glyndebourne treatment in the company’s autumn tour.

With a slurky, psychedelic Count keen to exercise his droit de seigneur in the free love era of the 1960s, a dreamy Countess reliant on her ‘medicine’ (seemingly a spliff) and a lusty hormonal youth ready to feel up any female with a pulse, the sometimes nasty edge is taken off this comedy of errors.

Director Michael Grandage’s vision works: the ancient rite becomes less alien in this bohemian world of flares, the Twist and long hair, and Christopher Oram’s opulent set is spot-on with hippy-dippy drapes, Baroque carvings and cushions.

Figaro is underplayed magnificently by Guido Loconsolo whose wonderful baritone is mellow and mellifluous so instead of being seen as a schemer, he is the noble servant bent on preserving his fiancee’s honour.

Soprano Joelle Harvey is a sweet Susanna – both in voice and demeanour; Ellie Laugharne sexy as a Mary Quantesque Barbarina and, in a fine debut, mezzo soprano Kathryn Rudge is quite Perry-like (but just a tad too girly) as Cherubino.

But stealing the show are the Count and Countess.

John Moore’s rich baritone complements his superb characterisation of the randy and abusive master while Glyndebourne debutante Layla Claire is beautifully vulnerable and her ‘Dovo sono’ a real showstopper.

Jonathan Cohen controls the excellent Glyndebourne Tour Orchestra with a light but firm hand bringing vivacity to the familiar score.


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