The Marriage of Figaro: Reading List!

For Further Exploration

The Figaro Trilogy: The Barber of Seville, The Marriage of Figaro, The Guilty Mother (Oxford World’s Classics)
Figaro, one of opera’s most enduring characters, sprang from the imagination of French playwright Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais. Translated by David Coward, this volume includes source materials for the beloved operas by Rossini and Mozart.

Improbable Patriot
Not content with being a master watchmaker and plotter of plays, Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais conceived and carried out a plan to aid the rebellious American colonists in 1776. Harlow Giles Unger tells the fascinating life story of the man who brought us Figaro and friends.

The Mozart-Da Ponte Operas
Mozart wrote his three most enduring operas in collaboration with Lorenzo Da Ponte. Andrew Steptoe explores the cultural and social context in which they were written, the practicalities of opera production in the time, and the place the works hold in the creators’ artistic development.

The Librettist of Venice
Rodney Bolt tells the story of Lorenzo Da Ponte, “Mozart’s Poet, Casanova’s Friend, and Italian Opera’s Impresario in America.” Read more

A Timeless Mirror: Finding Ourselves within “The Marriage of Figaro”

WNO_16-17_MarriageofFigaro_620x349_v2From the playbill for The Marriage of Figaro

by Kelley Rourke, WNO Dramaturg


Spoiler alert: No one dies in The Marriage of Figaro.

In an art form teeming with over-the-top offenders, the characters in The Marriage of Figaro seem slightly tame—more Downton Abbey than True Crime. But the lack of superheroes and supervillains is precisely what makes Mozart and Da Ponte’s comedy of manners so compelling. The emotional life of the household first imagined by the playwright Beaumarchais raises our ire, splits our sides, breaks our hearts, and sends us out of the theater with recognition of—and hope for—our shared humanity.

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Revolutionary Writers: Beaumarchais and Da Ponte

D'après Jean-Marc Nattier, Portrait de Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (BMCF)

D’après Jean-Marc Nattier, Portrait de Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (BMCF)

From the playbill for The Marriage of Figaro

by Kelley Rourke, WNO Dramaturg


“Because you are a great lord, you believe that you are a great genius! You took the trouble to be born, no more. You remain an ordinary enough man!”

The social architecture of the 18th century put many obstacles in the path of an ambitious young man like Pierre Augustin Caron (1732–1799); at the same time, it served as the scaffolding for his climb. The playwright who gave us Figaro, the ultimate jack-of-all-trades, lived a life bursting with adventures and accomplishments, as did the Italian poet who would adapt his Le Mariage de Figaro into one of our most beloved operas.

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Joshua Hopkins | Meet the Artists

Baritone. Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro.

Joshua Hopkins headshotJoshua was born and raised in Canada, and was a student at McGill University in Montreal before gaining acceptance into the Houston Grand Opera Studio.

He made his WNO debut in 2014 as Papageno in The Magic Flute.

Some of Joshua’s most recent role highlights include the title role in The Barber of Seville, Tadeusz in The PassengerPing in Turandot, and Junior in A Quiet Place.

Fun fact! Joshua was chosen by Opera News as one of “twenty-five artists poised to break out and become a major force in the coming decade.”

Get a glimpse at Joshua’s Count in The Marriage of Figaro, a performance The Globe and Mail says he delivers with “a virile, vigorous yet velvety sound.”

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Ryan McKinny | Meet the Artists

Bass-baritone. Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro.

Ryan McKinny Headshot

Ryan is a graduate of both the Juilliard School of Music and the Houston Grand Opera Studio.

He made his WNO debut in The Ring this spring, where he played the roles of Donner and Gunther.

Ryan’s favorite opera is Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde. In fact, Wagner is his favorite composer of all time, with the title role in The Flying Dutchman being his character of choice.

Other memorable roles include the title role in Rigoletto, and Tiridate in Radamisto

Fun fact! Instead of leaving his wife and two children in Houston every time he’s invited to perform at opera houses around the world, Ryan’s family comes with him! The McKinny family even calls Germany their home-away-from-home, as Ryan has placed his vocal focus on the German repertoire.

Listen to Ryan sing a work from The Flying Dutchman at La Scala in Milan, Italy. 

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Amanda Majeski | Meet the Artists

Soprano. Countess Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro.

Amanda Majeski headshot1_5x7Amanda was born, raised, and currently resides in Chicago, Illinois.

This performance marks her WNO debut.

Amanda has played this role before in several other productions including at The Metropolitan Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago. She’ll return to The Met stage in the 2016/17 season as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni. She has continued her relationship with Lyric audiences in such roles as Vitellia in La clemenza di Tito and Eva in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.

A notable moment: In 2009, she was preparing for her role as a peasant in the Lyric Opera’s production of The Marriage of Figaro. The day before a performance, Amanda learned that she would be taking over the role of the Countess. With only hours to prepare for the biggest curtain call of her life, Amanda took the stage. And the rest is history.

Watch Amanda perform a song from The Metropolitan Opera’s production of The Marriage of Figaro

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Lisette Oropesa | Meet the Artists

Soprano. Susanna in The Marriage of FigaroMarie in The Daughter of the Regiment

Lisette is a firsLisetteOropesa_480t generation Cuban American.

This season marks her WNO debut, with two back-to-back productions for which she has already won great acclaim.

Lisette and Lawrence Brownlee appeared in The Marriage of Figaro together at the Pittsburgh Opera, and are reuniting on the WNO stage in The Daughter of the Regiment.

She has appeared over 100 times on The Metropolitan Opera stage.

Some of Lisette’s other celebrated roles include Gilda in Rigoletto and Nannetta in Falstaff. She has also appeared in eight of the Met’s Live in HD productions.

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