Le Nozze di Figaro, Glyndebourne Tour, October 2012

This Michael Grandage production, new in summer 2012, is now on tour with a delightful young cast. Its staging gives a 1960s take on Mozart’s opera, with the Count and Countess as European nouveau riche living in a house boasting Moorish designs by Christopher Oram and lovely flowing robes for the countess, all exquisitely lit by Paule Constable.

Susanna, Figaro, Bartolo, Marcellina, all images Bill Cooper

The cast sings beautifully, sometimes brilliantly, and their acting is a joy. Figaro himself was strongly and sympathetically sung by Guido Loconsolo, portraying a man of bold intention but without the supreme knowingness one sometimes sees, and Joélle Harvey as his fiancée Susanna was a delight, very pretty in her black dress with white collar and cuffs, and singing with deft maturity. Her contretemps with Jean Rigby as Marcellina was charmingly done, and the Bartolo of Andrew Slater was a hoot.

Daniel Norman’s Don Basilio was also a bit of comedian, a wide boy in ill matching plaids and a red barnet moving amusingly around the stage and shifting his plates to the music. John Moore sang well as Count Almaviva in his Carnaby Street style clothes, moving with histrionics that wouldn’t be out of place in Fawlty Towers. Kathryn Rudge played the difficult role of Cherubino, doing well in the bit where she is a young man pretending to be a young woman, and Ellie Laugharne as Barbarina sang and acted very prettily.

Count and Countess

The cast worked well together, but the supreme performance was Layla Claire as the Countess. Her glorious purity of tone was complemented by body language and glances that expressed her feelings to perfection. She seems to have had fine ballet training, and her very few dance moves were excellent. This Canadian singer has been a young artist at the Met in New York and is clearly someone to watch out for.

The Glyndebourne Tour Orchestra under the baton of Jonathan Cohen played with plenty of forward movement and enthusiasm, and if you’re anywhere near the tour venues, don’t miss the lovely individual performances, particularly those of the Countess and Susanna.

After Glyndebourne this opera continues on tour at: Woking, Norwich, Wimbledon, Plymouth, Canterbury, Milton-Keynes and Stoke-on-Trent — for details click here.

Leave a Comment