Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Marriage of Figaro

Music History Monday: The Enduring Miracle

On Monday, May 1, 1786 – 231 years ago today – a miracle occurred in the great city of Vienna: Wolfgang Mozart’s opera The Marriage of Figaro received its premiere at the Burgtheater in Vienna. 100 years later, Johannes Brahms wrote this about The Marriage of Figaro: “Every number in Figaro is for me a marvel; I simply cannot fathom how anyone could create anything so perfect. Such a thing has never been done, not even by Beethoven.” 231 years after the premiere, Brahms’ awe of Figaro mirrors our own. For many of us – myself included – it is, simply, the greatest opera ever composed. On May 7th, 1783 – three years before the premiere – Mozart wrote to his father: “The Italian opera buffa [here in Vienna] is very popular. I have looked through more than a hundred libretti but I have found hardly a single one that satisfies me. That is to say, there are so many changes that would have to be made that any poet, even if he were to undertake to make them, would find it easier to write an entirely new text. Our poet here now is a certain da Ponte. He has […]

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