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The Marriage of Figaro


In 1784 The Mad Day or the Marriage of Figaro Beaumarchais is represented in Paris after several years of polemics, cabals, ... interdictions.


Five years before the taking of the Bastille Louis XVI said "It should destroy the Bastille so that the representation of this play is not a dangerous inconsistency" ... But the play is a triumph.


As Napoleon will say "The Marriage of Figaro, it is already the revolution in action".


A year later, in Europe, the translations of Beaumarchais' piece flourished and the prohibition of its representation in Germany by Joseph II (brother of Queen Marie-Antoinette) who understood the social risk posed by this piece, does not prevent  the circulation of text from hand to hand in intellectual circles and Freemasons.


Mozart knows enough French to be able to read it in its original version but acquires a translation in German. Da Ponte Mozart knew since 1783 is called to adapt "... Speaking one day with Mozart, he asked me if I could easily put in drama, Beaumarchais’ comedy ... I liked a lot the proposal and I promised him to do it but therewas a big obstacle. Not long before, the Emperor had forbidden the German théâtre troup to perform this comedy, which was, he said, written too freely for an ordinary audience. How to propose it to him for a drama? (In Memoirs of Da Ponte).


Mozart and Da Ponte went to work in great secrecy with ardor during the summer of 1785. It remains to present the work to the emperor. It's up to Da Ponte to defend it. Faced with the reluctance of Joseph II, Da Ponte pleads "I deleted and shortened the scenes that could hurt the delicacy and decency  that your Majesty protects. As for music, as far as I can judge, it seems to me of a marvelous beauty. "


The Emperor is persuaded: "Well, since it is so, I trust your taste for music and your prudence as to the morals," the Emperor replied ," says Da Ponte in his memoirs. « Send the musical score to the copyist. "


The opening takes place on May 1, 1786 in front of an enthusiastic public but this success remains very relative and at the end of the year 1786, after only nine performances, The Marriage of Figaro, no longer interests the public of Vienna. Fortunately, the opera will be resumed in Prague for several months with an enormous success.

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