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Music with Ease > Classical Music > Concert Guide: Classical Era > Overture to "The Marriage of Figaro" - Mozart


Overture to "The Marriage of Figaro"

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
(1756-91)



"The Marriage of Figaro," an opera buffa, was written by Mozart in 1786, the text by Lorenzo de Ponte, after Beaumarchais' comedy, "Le Mariage de Figaro," and was produced for the first time in the same year at Vienna. The story of the amorous adventures of Count Almaviva ; the plot to entrap him made by the countess, Susanna her maid, Figaro the barber, and Cherubino the page ; the final reconciliation and the subsequent union of Figaro and Susanna are too well known to need retelling. The overture opens directly with a part of the first theme pianisimo, an octave passage for all strings and bassoons, another part following in the wind instruments and announced fortissimo in full orchestra. The theme is then repeated as a whole. After an episode in full orchestra, the second theme appears in the violins and basses, with a passage for woodwinds followed by another subsidiary for entire orchestra. The final theme is graceful melody in violins and woodwinds with a closing passage for full orchestra leading into the third part. A brilliant Coda closes the overture. As originally written, Mozart composed an Andante which came in the middle of the Allegro, but he afterwards cut it out and reunited the two parts of the Allegro, made the whole more compact, and gave it a lively, genial character throughout.





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