Review: The Marriage of Figaro

Scottish Opera
Until November 19th at Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
4 Stars (4 / 5)

The Marriage of Figaro is perhaps one of the wittiest buffa (comic) operas. Full of unexpected twists and clever turns, the story’s slapstick shenanigans of trickery must surely delight. Mozart’s score, lead by its best-loved overture, is the embodiment of merriment and frivolity. Scottish Opera’s 2010 production of this classic was a tour de force, and so director Sir Thomas Allen is back to dust it off and return it to the stage where it so rightly belongs.

If you like period costume you might think you’re in paradise as long-time costume supervisor for Scottish Opera has clearly racked their closets for this one. We are transported to 18th century Spain where the philandering Count of Almaviva hopes to sneakily exact unpopular “rights” to bed one of his servants before she marries his valet! The ingenious Figaro (Ben McAteer) comes up with various plots and tomfoolery to stop him, but he isn’t the only one conniving with plans. It seems like everyone is up to something – and few escape embarrassment or disgrace for long; no bad intention goes unpunished – nor good one!

Soprano, Eleanor Dennis, has an extraordinarily expressive performance and Hanna Hip steals the show with her spirited performance in the “trouser role” of Cherubino, the Count’s page who, in the midst of the awkward sexual awakenings of puberty, struggles to help himself from falling in love with each lady that passes – not least The Countess!