Composer | Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Librettist | Lorenzo Da Ponte
Orchestra | The Academy of Ancient Music
Sung in Italian
Revealing truth, virtue and beauty as no other opera. Figaro is Mozart’s operatic masterpiece, an irresistible blend of musical wit and social satire. ‘The best opera ever written by a human being’ has the capacity to be as transformative an experience as can be had in a theatre.
The Grange Festival’s new production by Martin Lloyd-Evans, who created the magical Mansfield Park at The Grange in 2017, conducted by Richard Egarr with The Academy of Ancient Music, presents a cast of some of Europe’s brightest young artists.
A score fizzing with life and melody brings song to Beaumarchais’ provocative play, and colour to his captivating cast of characters – from the lascivious Count and bombastic Dr Bartolo to the gawky teenage Cherubino, charismatic Figaro and of course his endlessly resourceful wife-to-be Susanna.
Egarr was appointed Music Director of the Academy of Ancient Music in 2006, and shortly thereafter he established the Choir of the AAM. Together they have brought semi-staged productions of Mozart’s La Finta Giardinera, Monteverdi and Purcell cycles to the Barbican (performing Dido and Aeneas earlier this season). Egarr made his Glyndebourne debut in 2007 with a staged St Matthew Passion, and has conducted La clemenza di Tito, Le nozze di Figaro and Rossini’s Il Signor Bruschino (Netherlands Opera Academy). He conducts leading symphony orchestras such as London Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw and Philadelphia, as well as period ensembles such as Handel and Haydn Society Boston. He was Associate Artist with the Scottish Chamber 2011-2017, and was recently appointed Principal Guest of the Residentie Orkest The Hague from 2019. A sought-after keyboard player, he regularly plays at Wigmore and Carnegie Hall, and has recorded many discs for Harmonia Mundi and latterly for Linn Records. He trained as a choirboy at York Minster, was organ scholar at Clare College Cambridge, and later studied with Gustav and Marie Leonhardt. He teaches at the Amsterdam Conservatoire and is Visiting Artist at the Juilliard School in New York.
Recent opera and dance includes Carmen (The Grange Festival); Corybantic Games (Royal Ballet); The King Dances, Edward II,
E=mc2 and Faster (BRB); Carmen (Miami City Ballet); Ein Reigen (Vienna State Ballet); Katya Kabanova (Boston Lyric Opera); Manon Lescaut, Werther, Carmen (Metropolitan Opera, NYC ); La Traviata (Glyndebourne); Damnation of Faust and Madame Butterfly (ENO). He directed and designed concert stagings of The Ring Cycle (Opera North), Otello (Bergen National Opera) and Fidelio (Orchestre de Chambre de Paris). Theatre includes My Name Is Lucy Barton (The Bridge); The Way Of The World (Donmar Warehouse), Long Day’s Journey Into Night, The Ferryman and 42nd Street (West End), The Stepmother (Chichester) and The Slaves of Solitude (Hampstead). Awards include Oliviers for Outstanding Achievement in Dance, 1995, Best Lighting Design, 2005. The South Bank Sky Arts Opera Award (The Ring Cycle (Opera North), 2017) and the Helpmann and Green Room Awards for Best Lighting (King Kong, 2013).
Toby Girling’s current and future engagements include Nicomedes Der König Kandaules and Pallante Agrippina (De Vlaamse Opera), Belcore l’elisir d’amore (Scottish Opera), Angelo Das Liebesverbot (Chelsea Opera Group at Cadogan Hall), Sam Trouble in Tahiti (Oper Leipzig on tour in Bolzano, Wexford Festival and Teatro Pérez Galdós in Gran Canaria).
Recent engagements include Evangelist/Watchful/First Shepherd Pilgrim’s Progress (ENO), Masetto Don Giovanni, Ruggero La Juive (Peter Konwitschny), Mozart’s Mass in C minor, a staged version of Winterreise and Junkman/Hermann Augustus Candide (Vlaamse Opera Antwerp), Top in Copeland’s The Tenderland (Opéra de Lyon), Marcello La Bohème and Morales Carmen (Neville Holt), Guglielmo Così fan tutte (English Touring Opera), and Il Chirurgo/Alcade La Forza del Destino (Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg). For the Glyndebourne Opera Festival Chorus, he sang Arthur Jones and covered Donald Billy Budd in the Michael Grandage production.
Toby is a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
A 2010 graduate of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House, Romanian-British Soprano Simona Mihai began her studies in the UK, attending the Royal College of Music as a Queen Mother Scholar.
Major operatic roles have included Nedda I Pagliacci, Musetta and Mimi La bohème, Poussette Manon and Frasquita Carmen (ROH), Mimi La Boheme (Frankfurt and Perm), Adina L’Elisir d’Amore (Salzburg), 2nd Niece Peter Grimes and Pousette (La Scala, Milan), Governess The Turn of the Screw (Santiago, Chile), Roksana Krol Roger (Palermo) and Despina Così fan Tutte (Glyndebourne on Tour).
Most recently, in 2018 she sang Nedda at the ROH, before making her debut at La Monnaie, Brussels in the same role. At the end of 2017, Simona sang Musetta in the premiere of Richard Jones’ new La bohème at the Royal Opera House, also singing Mimi later in the run. She returned to Covent Garden this summer for further performances as Mimi.
Ellie Laugharne studied on the Guildhall School of Music & Drama Opera course after graduating from Birmingham University and Birmingham Conservatoire. In 2012 she was a Jerwood Young Artist for the Glyndebourne Festival and more recently an Associate Artist for Opera North.
Recent engagements include Gretel Hänsel und Gretel for Opera North, and Zerlina Don Giovanni for both Opera Holland Park and the Classical Opera Company. Last season Ellie returned to English National Opera as Phyllis in a new production of Iolanthe directed by Cal McCrystal, and sang Temperantia in Haydn’s rarely performed one-act cantata Applausus with Classical Opera.
Highlights in the 2018-19 season include a return to Opera North to sing Pamina The Magic Flute, Susanna Le nozze di Figaro in her company debut at The Grange Festival, Alresford and Polissena in Handel’s Radamisto with English Touring Opera. On the concert platform Ellie sings Mozart Requeim with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as a concert performance of Mozart’s one-act comic opera Bastien and Bastienne with Classical Opera Company at the Wigmore Hall.
Roberto Lorenzi is a graduate of the “Luigi Boccherini” Institute of Musical Studies in Lucca, Italy. He won the First Prize in the AsLiCo’s Competition and was awarded with the role of Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia performed in a tour in Italy. He is also a prize winner “Riccardo Zandonai” contest, and he was finalist of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World in 2017.
In summer 2013 Lorenzi took part at the prestigious Young Singers Project at the Salzburg Festival; afterwards he joined Opernhaus Zürich, where he was a member of the ensemble having graduated from the theatre’s International Opera Studio in the summer of 2015. In these years he had the occasion to performed: Lorenzo in I Capuleti e i Montecchi (F. Luisi conducting; DVD for Accentus), La Vengeance in Médée by Charpentier (W. Christie conducting), Otello, Caronte in Orlando Paladino, Geronimo in Il matrimonio segreto (R. Minasi conducting), Priore in La Straniera, Alidoro in La Cenerentola, Don Prudenzio in a new production of Il Viaggio a Reims, Le Gouvernuer in Le Comte Ory, Zuniga in Carmen and Publio in La Clemenza di Tito (O. Dantone conducting).
Lorenzi made his La Scala debut in Franco Zeffirelli’s acclaimed production of La Bohème, under the baton of Daniele Rustioni. Elsewhere he appeared as Angelotti in Tosca, Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni (title role) in Lucca; as well as Alidoro in La Cenerentola in Tuscany and Lille; Ferrando in Il Trovatore for AsLiCo; Daland in Der fliegende Holländer as part of the Opera Domani project in Rome, in Bologna, in Turin; Leporello in Mozart’s Don Giovanni at the New Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv; Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle in Pesaro;
Past engagements include also: Priore in La Straniera at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam; Gualtiero Valton in I Puritani in Palermo. In concert he performed the Verdi’s Requiem in Pisa; Mozart’s Requiem in Lucca and Händel’s Messiah in Madrid, Gdansk and Sevilla with Fabio Biondi and Europa Galante.
Future plans: Il Viaggio a Reims at the Wien Musikeverein; Masetto in Don Giovanni in Bologna; Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro at the Grange Festival in London and at the Norske Opera in Oslo.
Mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta was the winner of the “Young Singer” category at the 2018 International Opera Awards and “Breakthrough Artist in UK Opera” in the 2017 WhatsOnStage Awards. Highlights in the 2018/19 season include role debuts as the title role Carmen, Rosina The Barber of Seville, and Octavian Der Rosenkavalier (Oper Leipzig), Idamante Idomeneo (Opera Atelier, Toronto), Flora La traviata with Placido Domingo (ROH, Muscat). Giunta will also appear at the BBC Proms, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam and the Edinburgh Festival. Recent highlights include the title role in Ravel L’enfant et les sortilèges and as Dinah in Bernstein Trouble in Tahiti (Opera North), and Gymnasiast in a new production of Berg Lulu, and Angelina La Cenerentola and Cherubino Le nozze di Figaro (Oper Leipzig).
Louise Winter studied at the RNCM, winning the Esso Glyndebourne and John Christie Awards. Since her debut as Dorabella with Glyndebourne Touring Opera, she has sung with major companies including the Royal Opera, ENO, Glyndebourne, Canadian Opera Company, Opera Frankfurt, Berlin Staatsoper and La Monnaie. Her most recent roles include Marcellina Le Nozze di Figaro (ROH), Gertrude in Brett Dean’s Hamlet (Glyndebourne on Tour), Madame Larina Eugene Onegin and Pilar in David Sawer’s The Skating Rink (Garsington), Kabanicha Kat’a Kabanova (Longborough) and Wife in Turnage’s Greek (Music Theatre Wales/Linbury/Korea). Performances on DVD include the Goddess Diana (La Calisto) conducted by René Jacobs. She has performed with many leading orchestras and conductors, including the CBSO with Sir Simon Rattle, the BBC Symphony Orchestra with Sir Andrew Davis, the Hallé Orchestra with Sir Mark Elder, and the Philharmonia Orchestra under Sir Charles Mackerras. 2018/19 includes Governess The Queen of Spades (ROH) and Maya in Howard Moody’s Agreed for Glyndebourne.
Acclaimed tenor Ben Johnson represented England in BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2013 and won the Audience Prize. A former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist and 2008 winner of the Kathleen Ferrier Award, Johnson trained as an English National Opera Harewood Artist and was also a Wigmore Hall Emerging Talent.
His 2017/18 season included a return to English National Opera as Earl Tolloller in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe as well as performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne and Britten Canticles with Fundacion Juan March in Madrid.
Recent highlights include Eisenstein Die Fledermaus and Don Ottavio Don Giovanni for Opera Holland Park as well as Alfredo La Traviata, Tamino Die Zauberflöte, and Nemorino L’elisir d’amore, for English National Opera. He has also performed Don Ottavio Don Giovanni for Glyndebourne Festival Opera as well as Novice in their production of Billy Budd directed by Michael Grandage, Lysander A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Bergen National Opera, Bénédict Béatrice et Bénédict for Chelsea Opera Group, Copland’s performances ofThe Tender Land at Opéra de Lyon and Britten’s War Requiem at De Doelen and the Concertgebouw Brugge.
Jonathan Best studied at St John’s College‚ Cambridge and at the Guildhall School of Music. He made his operatic debut in 1983 with Welsh National Opera‚ and has since sung with all the major British Opera companies and beyond.
Most recent engagements include Father Traurnacht (Festival d’Aix en Provence), Sarastro The Magic Flute‚ Alcindoro La Boheme and Le Bailli Werther (Scottish Opera)‚ Judge Turpin Sweeney Todd (Théâtre du Châtelet‚ Paris and Münchner Rundfunkorchester)‚ Drunken Poet The Fairy Queen (Handel and Haydn Society‚ Boston)‚ title role Saul (The Sixteen)‚ Capellio I Capuleti e i Montecchi‚ Don Fernando Leonore‚ Zebul Jephtha (Buxton Festival)‚ Don Alfonso Cosi fan tutte and Lord Henry The Picture of Dorian Gray (Den Jyske Opera)‚ Quince A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Speaker The Magic Flute (Garsington)‚ Achilla Giulio Cesare (Opera North)‚ Pastor Oberlin Jakob Lenz and Bartolo The Marriage of Figaro (English National Opera)‚ The Adventures of Mr Broucek (Opera North/Scottish Opera and the world première of Sally Beamish’s The Sins (Psappha).
Richard Suart studied at Cambridge University‚ and the Royal Academy of Music‚ where he was elected a Fellow in 2004. Recent and future engagements include Pangloss (Toronto Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, LA Philharmonic‚ Hollywood Bowl and Opera di Firenze,)‚ Lord Chancellor Iolanthe (San Francisco Symphony), Baron Zeta The Merry Widow (Michigan Opera Theatre)‚ Judge Trial by Jury (ENO)‚ Ko-Ko The Mikado (ENO and Scottish Opera)‚ Major-General The Pirates of Penzance (Scottish Opera)‚ title role Gianni Schicchi (Diva Opera)‚ Bartolo The Barber of Seville (Charles Court Opera)‚ Judge Turpin Sweeney Todd (Reisopera)‚ Jack Point The Yeomen of the Guard and Major-General (RTE Concert Orchestra).
Further engagements include Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre (Salzburg Festival and Châtelet)‚ Koko (New York City Opera‚ Vancouver and Penang), Major-General‚ Frank Die Fledermaus, Baron Zeta‚ Lesbo Agrippina and Benoit/Alcindoro La Bohème (ENO); Jack Point (Welsh National Opera and ROH)‚ Barabashkin Paradise Moscow (Opera North and Bregenz)‚ Stan Stock in the premiere of Benedict Mason’s Playing Away (ON‚ Bregenz and St Pölten)‚ Magnifico La Cenerentola‚ Lord Chancellor‚ Don Inigo Gomez L’Heure Espagnole (Grange Park Opera) and Antonio Le Nozze di Figaro (Garsington).
Yorkshire born soprano Rowan Pierce was awarded the President’s Award by HRH Prince of Wales at the Royal College of Music in 2017. She won both the Song Prize and First Prize at the inaugural Grange Festival International Singing Competition, the Van Someren Godfery Prize at the RCM and the first Schubert Society Singer Prize in 2014. She has recently been made a Rising Star of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and is a Harewood artist at English National Opera.
Rowan has appeared on the concert platform throughout Europe and in South America and appears regularly with ensembles including the Academy of Ancient Music, Gabrieli Consort, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Florilegium and Royal Northern Sinfonia. In 2017 Rowan made her BBC Proms debut at the Royal Albert Hall with the OAE and her Wigmore Hall debut with the London Handel Players. Future highlights include performances with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Academy of Ancient Music, Gabrieli Consort, BBC Scottish Symphony, La Nuova Musica, Early Opera Company and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.
Rowan was made a Harewood Artist at English National Opera in 2018. Operatic roles have included Drusilla L’incoronazione di Poppea, Galatea in Acis & Galatea, Iris Semele, Susanna The Marriage of Figaro, Miss Wordsworth, Emmie and Cis Albert Herring and Princess L’enfant et les sortilèges. Future operatic roles include Tiny Paul Bunyan and Papagena The Magic Flute (ENO), Barbarina Le Nozze di Figaro (Nevill Holt Opera) various roles in performances and recordings of both Purcell’s King Arthur and the Fairy Queen (Gabrieli Consort). Festival performances include collaborations with Sir Thomas Allen and Christopher Glynn in the Ryedale Festival, Dame Ann Murray and Malcolm Martineau in the Oxford Lieder Festival and Roger Vignoles in Leeds Lieder. Recording plans include sessions with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Gabrieli Consort and the Academy of Ancient Music.
Rowan is a Samling Artist and was generously supported by the Countess of Munster Award and Midori Nishiura at the RCM.
In 18th century Seville, this story takes place on the wedding day of Figaro and Susanna, Count Almaviva’s servants. Figaro is surprised to hear Susanna’s confession: she is being pursued by the Count. Figaro gets angry and vows to foil the Count’s intentions.
Figaro plans his strategy. Susanna will write to the Count agreeing to a rendezvous, but they will send the adolescent page Cherubino, disguised in women’s clothes. Figaro and Susanna get the Countess’s consent. When they are dressing Cherubino, the Count unexpectedly arrives. Unfortunately, Figaro’s plan fails.
Then Marcellina, an elderly woman, appears with her lawyer, Bartolo. They remind Figaro of the promise he made to marry Marcellina if he failed to pay back the loan she made to him. Figaro and Susanna’s plans to marry seem to be lost.
But a big new truth is revealed: that Figaro was an abandoned baby and is the long-lost son of Bartolo and Marcellina. Figaro and his parents embrace each other. Susanna joins them. Figaro and Susanna’s plans to marry go ahead without interruption. And Bartolo and Marcellina also marry, resulting in a double wedding.
However the Count… he continues trying to seduce Susanna. The Countess is amazed at his foolhardiness. She decides she will disguise herself as Susanna to meet him in the garden that night….
…… when the Count goes to meet Susanna in the garden. He makes a move on his wife who is dressed in Susanna’s clothes in order to get evidence of his affair. She then reveals herself to him. The Count realises that his lover is his wife, and is dumbfounded. The Countess forgives her husband who regrets what he has done.