Beaumarchais’ original play, on which Mozart and Da Ponte created the opera of The Marriage of Figaro, was considered scandalous in its day given its highly critical questioning of French society at a turbulent period just prior to the French Revolution. In the same vein, Da Ponte’s libretto highlights smart servants making fools of their masters, with Figaro openly refuting the Count’s ‘droit de seigneur’. This conceit is pivotal to the story of the opera, explaining why Figaro is in such a hurry to marry Susanna and, at the same time, dupe his lecherous master in the process.

Opera Queensland Marriage of Figaro The Marriage of Figaro

For this new Opera Queensland production, Patrick Nolan, OQ’s Artistic Director, has sought to create a contemporary production around the similarities of the 18th and 21st-century worlds, which has some resonance and in part worked well. The set design by Marg Howell gave us a world in decay, one seemingly about to explode. A huge statue on its side with...