Le nozze di Figaro was the opening performance of the Glyndebourne Opera House on May 28 1934. It opened the 50th anniversary season on the same date in 1984, and was inevitably chosen to open the new Glyndebourne opera house on May 28 1994.
This season's new production by Michael Grandage is the sixth in Glyndebourne's history, and its opening performance was the 486th by Glyndebourne. The 500th will be the penultimate performance of the current season's run on August 20th. So this is a work of huge importance to the house whose "resident composer" is Mozart.
I am fortunate (and old) enough have seen all the productions of the last 60 years - my first was in 1958 (I think) with Elisabeth Söderström as Susanna. So I attend any performance of this piece, wherever it may be, with the advantage and the disadvantage of intimate knowledge!
First of all I should say that this production and performance gave me enormous pleasure. There is a new master in the pit for Mozart (and much else I feel sure) at Glyndebourne, the recently appointed music director (from 2014) Robin Ticciati. This young man's blossoming talent has been evident for a few years now. But if ever there was proof needed that his appointment as Glyndebourne's music director was an inspired choice then this Figaro is it. I feel that he will have as profound effect on the Sussex house as his magnificent Mozartian predecessors, Fritz Busch, Vittorio Gui, John Pritchard, Bernard Haitink, and Andrew Davis.
Building a perfect cast from all those who have sung in this opera over the decades at Glyndebourne is an impossible task. For a start there have been too many "Hall of Famers" as Susanna, Countess, and Cherubino. Sciutti, Söderström, Freni, Cotrubas; Sutherland, Jurinac, Te Kanawa; Berganza, Mathis, von Stade......not to mention a probable future mega star, the current Cherubino Isabel Leonard.
We should be more than content to have a really classy ensemble such as we saw this year welded together with total musical and theatrical coherence by Ticciati and Michael Grandage. I am looking forward to this team's work in the future.........
All this Mozart excitement has rather eclipsed my memory of Monday's Ravel. I enjoyed that evening too - the young woman who sang the Enfant was remarkable - Khatouna Gadelia. And she was surrounded by a brilliant ensemble including all but one of the principals of the L'heure espagnole. These included our old friends Elliot Madore and Kathleen Kim. And the musical side was looked after of course - a Glyndebourne hall mark. The really excellent Kazushi Ono with the London Philharmonic is as good as it gets.
I return to London this morning and will be back in Chicago tomorrow evening.