The Marriage of Figaro  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Le nozze di Figaro, ossia la folle giornata (Trans: The Marriage of Figaro or the Day of Madness), K. 492, is an opera buffa (comic opera) composed in 1786 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte, based on a stage comedy by Pierre Beaumarchais, La folle journée, ou le Mariage de Figaro (1784).

Although the play by Beaumarchais was at first banned in Vienna because of its satire of the aristocracy, considered dangerous in the decade before the French revolution, the opera became one of Mozart's most successful works. The overture is especially famous and is often played as a concert piece. The musical material of the overture is not used later in the work, aside from a brief phrase during the Count's aria.

Royal censorship was still active in the theater under King Louis XV and Louis XVI, and, despite his popularity, Beaumarchais had great difficulty getting his play The Marriage of Figaro staged in Paris, because of its political message. In 1784, a performance of "The Marriage of Figaro" was forbidden at Versailles, so it was performed instead at a private theater. One reason for the ban was a monologue by Figaro to his master, saying, "Because you are a great lord, you believe that you are a great genius! Nobility, fortune, rank, places, all that makes you so proud! But what have you done for so many advantages? You took the pain of being born, that's all - as for the rest, you are a rather ordinary man." Quoted in Marco Ferro, Histoire de France pg. 201.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Marriage of Figaro" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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