Jean Renoir


Le Nozze Di Figaro at the Met

In Sir Richard Eyre's complex production, which premiered on opening night, September 2014, Rob Howell's rotating set looms oppressively over the Almavivas and their household, as it reaches up towards the catwalks like a cross between a spire of La Sagrada Família and a decaying oil tank. I don't say this in disparagement. The set is highly effective. Rotating as it does, it can present small rooms, like the one intended for Susanna and Figaro, larger rooms, like the Countess' bedroom, and very large spaces like the great hall, dividing the expanse of the Met's stage into a central and flanking areas, as well as some space above, when called for. We can also see from one space into another, allowing us to get glimpses of the goings-on in other parts of the building—daily life in a noblman's country residence. Its ornament suggests the Moorish, with hints more implied than defined of the Gothic and Baroque, and leans more to Lorenzo da Ponte's original indication, "il castello del Conte Almaviva"[1. sometimes replaced, as the libretto is reprinted, by Beaumarchais' "le château d'Aguas Frescas à trois lieues de Séville," accordingly translated.]  than "an elegant Spanish villa." And the set tells its story...a story of decay.
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