Mozart and the Spirit of Figaro

In the aria “Non più andrai, farfallone amoroso” (“You shall frolic no more”), from the first act of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Figaro teases Cherubino about the abrupt end of his carefree, flirtatious life at the palace. The Count is concerned that Cherubino has developed a fondness for the Countess and has banished him to distant military service. One of the most memorable passages in this jovial aria is this ascending arpeggio motive. It’s a …

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A Snapshot of Figaro

Last month we listened to an excerpt from Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s great new live concert recording of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Here are a few more highlights from that recording. Almost all of Mozart’s music grows out of opera. Passages from the symphonies and concertos can be heard as wordless arias and duets. It’s as if Mozart couldn’t shut off the stream of characters and vague hints of far-off dramatic …

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New Release: Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s Marriage of Figaro

Today marks an exciting and long-anticipated release in the world of opera: conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s brand new live concert recording of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and an all-star cast. Nézet-Séguin was recently named successor to James Levine at the Metropolitan Opera, perhaps the most visible opera post in the world. This disk, recorded live at the 2,500-seat Baden-Baden Festspielhaus, is the latest in a series of Mozart operas Nézet-Séguin has released on the Deutsche Grammophon label. …

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Mozart’s 259th Birthday

  Tomorrow marks the 259th anniversary of Mozart’s birth. If you’re looking for an exciting way to celebrate, consider picking up a copy of Rachel Barton Pine’s newly-released Mozart recording. The CD features all five Mozart Violin Concertos and the Sinfonia Concertante. Barton Pine is accompanied by Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Her infectious enthusiasm for the music is apparent in this informational clip. Born in Chicago in …

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Mozart’s Wordless Operas

Listening to Mozart’s symphonies, concertos and chamber music, you might get the sense that you’re hearing wordless operas. Even without a libretto, we can sense distinct characters, musical conversations and dramatic situations unfolding in the music. It’s as if the innovative and prolific composer of The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, and The Magic Flute couldn’t shut off the flood of opera arias and duets entering his mind. As a musician I have found that approaching …

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