It’s difficult to imagine how the 2012 Michael Grandage production of Le nozze di Figaro could acquire yet more lustre, but Saturday’s revival premiere shone a much clearer light onto the personality of each individual character.
It’s as though Grandage said: “Be yourself - imagine how you would feel if you were due to be bullied by a jealous husband, or deceived by a cheating wife.”
Glittering prizes should be showered on a cast which brought us closer to Mozart’s original interpretation and leavened complex twists and turns of the story with the zing of humour.
The tale is surprisingly modern, casting light on the two basic freedoms we take for granted; power over what we wear and choice of our sexual partner. But for Figaro and Susanna, as servants, neither is straightforward. As she sings at one point: “That is not available for a woman of my class.”
Mozart tells the tale of deception, mistrust, fidelity, secrets and forgiveness - still as relevant now as they were in 1786 when the opera was first performed in the Burgtheatre, Vienna on May 1.
All performers were outstanding - the technical ability of some conflicts with our understanding of just what the human voice can achieve.
Prague born bass baritone Adam Plachetka made his Glyndebourne debut as Figaro and the audience fell silent, stunned by his physical presence - perfectly in keeping with with the unctuous richness of his voice.
Laura Tatulesco was a formidably feisty Susanna; she kicked, screamed, slapped and raged yet her acting skill failed to dim a sensationally clear and powerful soprano which soared mellifluously above the orchestral score.
The seventies costumes suited the strutting count played by Canadian Joshua Hopkins, who could turn to stand-up as an alternative career, should his voice ever lose its sumptuous power.
One of my favourite cast members was Lydia Teuscher, who made the role of Cherubino her own. Her movements were so boyish and swaggering I had to check my programme to ensure she really was a girl - until she began to sing when her spirited soprano blaze made it quite obvious.
I love this opera - it’s of its time but of our own too, and the characters are fallible and human in a very modern way.
This is an unmissable element of the entire Glyndebourne Festival season and I would say if you can pick up ‘returns’ or treat yourself to a last minute ticket, this is the production you should choose.
By Susan King