Welsh National Opera – The Marriage of Figaro Review

The Hippodrome, Bristol – 12 March 2020

Review by Josie Aburrow Smith


The Marriage of Figaro is a comic opera in four acts composed in 1786 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and written by Lorenzo Da Ponte. It all takes place on a single day, the wedding day of Figaro and Susanna who are servants to the Count Almaviva. He is determined to foil their efforts and seduce Susanna. It is not just about Figaro and Susanna’s wedding but three others too. There are mistaken identities and many twists and turns.

The women are portrayed as being wiser and more civilized than the men.

The Welsh National Opera deliver this opera with great style. It is a period set production with some opulent and beautiful costumes by Sue Blane. The late stage designer Ralph Koltai designed the sets and feature revolving panels that move around to make small and large spaces.

They are beautifully reflective and the Contessa’s bedroom scene is particularly luxurious: at the start of act 2 she is singing facing her wall and we see her reflection in striking light.

The cast is an exceptional ensemble. David Ireland performs the title role, while Soraya Mafi plays Susanna and Jonathan McGovern is Count Almaviva. I particularly enjoyed Anita Watson as the Contessa. She was a delight to watch.

The Orchestra played wonderfully and were led by the Conductor Carlo Rizzi. It was a delight to see an orchestra who were enjoying it and smiling at some of the comic moments. The harpsichord player Frederic Brown deserves a special mention.

You can watch this captivating performance at the Mayflower in Southampton, Liverpool Empire Theatre, Milton Keynes theatre, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Norwich Theatre Royal and the Birmingham Hippodrome.