THE SINGERS’ VIEW
Felicity Lott Soprano
Figaro has got such sublime and such well-drawn characters.
The whole opera veers from one dramatic situation to another, but it’s absolutely perfectly constructed. I sang the Countess a lot, but I never got tired of the role – there’s so much in it. She’s a fascinating character, and she goes through this big change from the rather dreary and hopeless character who sings ‘Porgi amor’ at the start of the second act into becoming someone who, galvanised, takes action, rather than having things done, or not, to her. She plays a dangerous game, but it’s worth it because at the end she’s regained her power.
Gerald Finley Bass-baritone
The Marriage of Figaro is a rite of passage for most singers – there’s a role in it for everybody. I had the privilege to sing Figaro himself first, and from doing that you get to know what you need to play the Count. And when you do play the Count, the essential thing to remember is that the opera is essentially about him. If you have a good Count, the whole thing comes together. The Count is a man who is used to being in power, but doesn’t understand that things are changing; one thing I love about him is the way that he sees something is happening, but still has this resistance to accepting it. He’s losing control – and is aware that he’s losing control – and takes it out on those that he loves. But when, at the end, he asks the Countess to forgive him, I do believe it is genuine.
Elizabeth Watts Soprano
All the characters in Figaro are wonderfully three-dimensional and so well crafted, so you can really understand the motivation behind everything they do. It’s very much an ensemble opera, so there’s lots of fun to be had from playing off your colleagues! Susanna’s a very strong character but she’s got her own vulnerabilities. You can’t play the comedy side of her role without honestly showing the deep peril she faces if it all goes wrong. It’s one of the biggest roles in opera, and Mozart writes some of the most beautiful music for her to sing – ‘Dei vieni non tardar’ in the final act and some of the ensemble lines throughout the opera are just stunning. Her character is infectiously fun. She loves life and people who have life in them, like Figaro and Cherubino.