The Met’s current production of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro might be called a traditionalist interpretation, but it is by no means dull or outmoded.  The opera itself remains highly relevant, with its themes of pranks, young love, and class conflict wrapped up in a musically divine comedy, and this production is the best I’ve ever heard.

Danielle de Niese takes the cake as the witty, playful Susanna who cares deeply for her fiancé, Figaro, but enjoys, within limits, playing with other men. De Niese’s warm, fluid voice suits the role well, and her lively acting creates a lifelike, three-dimensional character.  The thirty-year-old Australian De Niese is a rising star whose Met debut in this opera at 19 showed the world how much this young singer/actress can do.  De Niese is someone to watch!

Isabel Leonard as Cherubino is a young page who likes women far too much. Leonard makes an extremely handsome hot lad and interacts in a naturally boyish and relaxed manner with Susanna. Leonard’s light, mobile voice fits very well with her character.

The entire cast was excellent and even the long-suffering Figaro and Count Almaviva were honest and not cliched. However, Susanna and Cherubino provided the core of the production, both emotionally and in terms of the plot. Cherubino is in every woman’s bedroom (albeit usually for innocent reasons) when the chauvinistic Count comes looking. Susanna is the woman everyone’s looking for, and she plots and schemes to keep her fiancé and spite the jealous Count.  Susanna and Cherubino provide excellent foils for other characters and add spice to every interaction.

The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra provides a lush sound environment for the singers, and the traditional but unexciting set and costumes provide adequate realism.

Playing through December 12.  Tickets and information here.

Avoid paying full price!  Student rush and standing room tickets are available!


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