THE SINGERS’ VIEW

BBC Music Magazine - - COVER FEATURE -

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.

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