Da Ponte’s brilliant reworking of Beaumarchais’ 1784 play, The Mad Day, or The Marriage of Figaro, not only gave Mozart the vehicle to create, arguably, his greatest opera, but through its universal themes of power, sexual politics, inequality and societal revolution, it has also afforded modern-day directors and designers a rich well of ideas from which to draw. Restaging Opera Queensland’s production from July this year, West Australian Opera delivered well on the artistic vision of director Patrick Nolan and designer Marg Horwell. In her notes in the printed program, Horwell cites as influences many of today’s most pressing issues: new societal orders in the wake of COVID-19; the Capitol riots in the US; the various global marches for racial equality; issues of decolonisation and the abuse of women.  Whilst there was little evidence in the production of this ambitious agenda being systematically explored, the idea of societal collapse was the binder keeping everything together.

The Marriage of Figaro WA Opera The Marriage of Figaro

Count Almaviva’s Castle,...