Show-Me Opera with University Philharmonic

Saturday, March 12, 2016 - 7:30pm
$19/adult; $14/faculty/staff; $9/student

Marriage of Figaro Synopsis 

Our production is set at Count Almaviva’s country estate, in the modern day 


Act I


In a storeroom given to them by Count Almaviva, servants Susanna and Figaro prepare for their wedding.  Figaro, furious upon hearing about the Count’s attempted seduction of his bride to be, is determined to have his revenge.  Dr. Bartolo appears with Marcellina, who is also determined to marry Figaro.  She has a contract with Figaro: he must either pay back the money he owes Marcellina or marry her.  Susanna returns to her room and is confronted by the adolescent Cherubino.  Alone, he confesses his amorous feelings for all the ladies of the palace, especially the Countess.  As the Count arrives to proposition Susanna once again, Cherubino hides. Basilio enters, and the Count also conceals himself.  Basilio tells Susanna that everyone knows Cherubino has a crush on the Countess – causing the Count to reveal himself in anger.  His rage multiplies when he discovers that Cherubino has overheard his seduction of Susanna.  They are confronted by Figaro and the servants, forcing the Count to bless the marriage.  In spite, the Count orders Cherubino to join the army immediately.  Figaro tells Cherubino what to expect – a life without girls and flirting, only cannons, bullets, and mud. 


Act II


The Countess, Rosina, mourns the loss of love in her life. Acting on Figaro and Susanna’s counsel, she decides to set a trap for the Count: disguising Cherubino as Susanna.  They dress Cherubino as a girl when the Count arrives – annoyed that the door is locked, and carrying the note Figaro wrote to upset the Count.  Cherubino, panicking, locks himself in the dressing cabinet.  When a sudden noise interrupts the conversation, the Count becomes skeptical that Susanna is there. Taking the Countess with him, the Count goes to find tools to break in.  Meanwhile, Susanna takes Cherubino’s place in the cabinet as Cherubino flees to the garden. The Count and Countess reappear and are astonished to find Susanna inside the cabinet. When all appears to be well, Antonio the gardener announces that someone crushed his carnations.  Figaro feigns a limp, saying it was he that jumped.  Marcellina, Bartolo, and Basilio appear to argue their case with the Count.  Delighted, the Count decrees that Figaro must honor his arrangement and postpones the wedding.



Later that day, Susanna meets with the Count, agreeing to rendezvous with him in the garden that night. Temporarily overjoyed, he overhears Susanna telling Figaro that they have won the case already.  In a jealous rage, he declares that he will get his revenge.  Marcellina insists that Figaro honor his agreement.  Figaro, however, claims to need the consent of his noble parents.  After Figaro reveals a birthmark on his arm, Marcellina recognizes that he is her lost son, Rafaello.  Susanna and the Countess write a letter to the Count confirming the rendezvous with the Count.  Cherubino appears before the Countess, dressed as a girl with his girlfriend Barbarina.  Antonio, meanwhile, has found the cap of Cherubino and unmasks him in front of the Count.  The Count’s anger at Cherubino’s disobedience is dispersed quickly by Barbarina, who exposes their relationship.  During the wedding, the Count receives Susanna’s note, sealed with a pin, confirming their meeting that evening. 


Act IV


That night, Barbarina bemoans her loss of the Count’s pin he asked her to return to Susanna as a sign that he received her letter.  When she tells Figaro of this, he believes his wife is unfaithful and begins ranting against the infidelity of all women.  He hides as Susanna and the Countess appear, dressed in each other’s clothing.  Alone in the garden, Susanna sings of love. The real Susanna lets Figaro in on the secret just in time to watch the Count seduce the Countess, who is dressed as Susanna.  The Count then sees Figaro with Susanna, dressed as his wife, and explodes in rage.  At this moment, the real Countess reveals her true identity.  Finally repentant, the Count asks for forgiveness.  After a period of doubt and uncertainty, she agrees and the couples are reunited. 

– Steven Groth

Show-Me Opera:  Marriage of Figaro