Trials and Tribulations of Writing Le Nozze Di Figaro

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A man known for composing brilliant instrumental music for most of his career, made a huge step in the world of opera on 7 May 1783. It was on this date which Mozart wrote a letter to his father with the intentions of his next composition. In the coming years this spectacle would become Mozart's 18th Operatic Work and 11th in Italian, Le Nozze di Figaro. Already having 10 Italian Operas accredited to his name Le Nozze di Figaro seemed to be Mozart's greatest operatic challenge to date. The Burgtheater in Vienna was currently home to an Italian Company whom Mozart thought would not last long – however, now was doing excellent business. There were many members of the Opera Company who could not wait to get involved in the project Mozart had in mind. Particularly the buffo bass, Benucci who was described by Mozart as “Particularly good.”[1] Despite having much interest by members of the company to aid his intentions, finding a libretto which appealed to Mozart seemed impossible. Hundreds of librettos were looked through, examined, acted out however, none seemed to be the perfect fit. Eventually Mozart's second hand man at the time, the buffo bass, Benucci came across Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais outrageously cheeky play La folle journee, ou Le mariage de Figaro.[2] Just as Mozart's Figaro Beaumarchais' play was not well accepted in the beginning. Yet the way to acceptance was paved by the Viennese success of the first Figaro play by Beaumarchais, Le barbier de Seville.[3] Now having found a libretto to work with Mozart felt so many changes would have to be made. Writing a new text seemed easier to Mozart then having to work through and omitting parts of dis-interest – possibilities which he had little time for. A new text Mozart felt would be better anyways. Mozart goes on in his letter saying “ Our poet here is now a certain Abbate da Ponte. He has a huge amount to do, revising pieces for the theatre, and he has to write per obbligo an entirely new...
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