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Le nozze di Figaro (Herbert von Karajan recording)

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Le nozze di Figaro
📅 Released1979
StudioSofiensaal, Vienna
⏳ Length169:32
🏷️ LabelDecca
🤑 ProducerChristopher Raeburn

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Le nozze di Figaro is a 169-minute studio album of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera, performed by Christiane Barbaux, Jules Bastin, Jane Berbié, Ileana Cotrubas, José van Dam, Zoltan Kélémén, Tom Krause, Marjon Lambriks, Frederica von Stade, Anna Tomowa-Sintow and Heinz Zednik with the Chorus of the Vienna State Opera and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Herbert von Karajan. It was released in 1979.


The album includes the Act Four arias for Marcellina and Basilio which some other recordings omit.

In Act Three of the opera, the Sextet has traditionally been performed after the Count's recitative and aria "Hai già vinta la causa!... Vedrò mentr'io sospiro" snd before the Countess's recitative and aria "E Susanna non vien!... Dove sono". In 1963, Robert Moberly and Christopher Raeburn suggested that this sequence entailed defects in the opera's storyline, and conjectured that originally Mozart and da Ponte had placed the Sextet after the Countess's number, not before it. They pointed out that at the première of the opera, Antonio and Bartolo had been performed by the same singer, and argued that the score might have been rearranged to give him the opportunity to change his costume. Herbert von Karajan adopted the Moberly-Raeburn sequence when conducting Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's new staging of the opera at the Salzburg Festival in 1973, and adhered to it when he made the present album (of which Raeburn was the producer).[1]

Although it is a studio recording, the album derived from a theatrical production. In May 1977, a year before the album was taped, Bastin, Berbié, Cotrubas, van Dam, Equiluz, Kélémén, Krause, von Stade, Tomowa-Sintow and Zednik performed Le nozze di Figaro at the Vienna State Opera under von Karajan's direction. (An Austrian Radio recording of one of their performances was released on CD in 2012 by Orfeo (catalogue number C856 123D)).[2]


The album was recorded using analogue technology in April and May 1978 in the Sofiensaal, Vienna.[1]

Critical reception[edit]


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, circa 1780

The album was reviewed or discussed by the Mozart scholar Stanley Sadie in Gramophone in September 1979,[3] by J. B. Steane in Gramophone in October 1979,[4] by James Goodfriend in Stereo Review in December 1979,[5] by Alan Blyth in Gramophone in July 1988[6] and by Richard Lawrence in a survey of the Le nozze di Figaro discography in Gramophone's 2011 Awards issue.[7]


In the December 1979 issue of Stereo Review, the album was included in the magazine's list of "Best Recordings of the Month".[5]

Track listing, CD1[edit]

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

Le nozze di Figaro, opera comica in quattro atti (Vienna, 1786), K. 492, with a libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte (1749-1838) after Pierre Beaumarchais (1732-1799)

  • 1 (4:03) Sinfonia

Act One

  • 2 (3:12) No. 1 Duetto: "Cinque... dieci... venti..." (Figaro, Susanna)
  • 3 (4:03) No. 2 Duetto: "Se a caso madama" (Figaro, Susanna)
  • 4 (4:04) No. 3 Recitativo e cavatina: "Bravo, signor padrone!.... Se vuol ballare" (Figaro, Bartolo, Marcellina)
  • 5 (3:46) No. 4 Aria: "La vendetta, oh, la vendetta" (Bartolo, Marcellina, Susanna)
  • 6 (3:43) No. 5 Duetto: "Via, resti servita" (Marcellina, Susanna, Cherubino)
  • 7 (6:32) No. 6 Aria: "Non so più cosa son, cosa faccio" (Cherubino, Susanna, Conte, Basilio)
  • 8 (10:04) No. 7 Terzetto: "Cosa sento! Tosto andate" (Conte, Basilio, Susanna, Cherubino, Chorus, Figaro)
  • 9 (3:40) No. 10 Aria: "Non più andrai, farfallone amoroso" (Figaro)

Act Two

  • 10 (8:07) No. 11 Cavatina: "Porgi, amor" (Contessa, Susanna, Figaro, Cherubino)
  • 11 (3:45) No. 12 Canzona: "Voi che sapete" (Cherubino, Contessa, Susanna)
  • 12 (5:14) No. 13 Aria: "Venite... inginocchiatevi" (Susanna, Contessa, Cherubino, Conte)
  • 13 (1:10) Recitativo: "Che novità!" (Conte, Contessa)
  • 14 (3:47) No. 14 Terzetto: "Susanna, or via, sortite" (Conte, Contessa, Susanna)
  • 15 (1:27) No. 15 Duetto: "Aprite, presto, aprite" (Susanna, Cherubino)[1]

Track listing, CD2[edit]

Act Two, continued

  • 1 (1:15) Recitativo: "Tutto è come io lasciai" (Conte, Contessa)
  • 2 (7:35) No. 16 Finale, Part 1: "Esci, ormai, garzon malnato" (Conte, Contessa, Susanna)
  • 3 (9:20) No. 16 Finale, Part 2: "Signori, di fuori son già i suonatori" (Figaro, Conte, Susanna, Contessa, Antonio)
  • 4 (4:08) No. 16 Finale, Part 3: "Voi, signor, che giusto siete" (Marcellina, Basilio, Bartolo, Conte, Susanna, Contessa, Cherubino)

Act Three

  • 5 (3:10) Recitativo: "Che imbarazzo è mai questo!" (Conte, Contessa, Susanna)
  • 6 (2:33) No. 17 Duetto: "Crudel! Perchè finora" (Conte, Susanna, Figaro)
  • 7 (5:45) No. 18 Recitativo ed aria: "Hai già vinta la causa!" (Conte, Barbarina, Cherubino)
  • 8 (8:37) No. 20 Recitativo ed aria: "E Susanna non vien!... Dove sono" (Contessa, Curzio, Marcellina, Figaro, Conte, Bartolo)
  • 9 (6:27) No. 19 Sestetto: "Riconoscsi in questo amplesso" (Marcellina, Figaro, Bartolo, Curzio, Conte, Susanna, Antonio)
  • 10 (6:53) No. 21 Recitativo e duetto: "Cosa mi narri!... Sull'aria...che soave zeffiretto" (Contessa, Susanna, Chorus, Barbarina, Antonio, Conte, Cherubino, Figaro)
  • 11 (6:25) No. 23 Finale: "Ecco la marcia" (Figaro, Susanna, Conte, Contessa, First Girl, Second Girl)[1]

Track listing, CD3[edit]

Act Four

  • 1 (3:59) No. 24 Cavatina: "L'ho perduta" (Barbarina, Figaro, Marcellina)
  • 2 (5:25) No. 25 Aria: "Il capro e la capretta" (Marcellina, Barbarina, Figaro, Basilio, Bartolo)
  • 3 (4:11) No. 26 Aria: "In quegli anni in cui val poco" (Basilio)
  • 4 (5:18) No. 27 Recitativo ed aria:"Tutto è disposto... Aprite un po' quegl'occhi" (Figaro, Susanna, Marcellina, Contessa)
  • 5 (5:28) No. 28 Recitativo ed aria: "Giunse alfin il momento... Deh vieni, non tardar" (Susanna, Figaro, Cherubino, Contessa)
  • 6 (11:00) No. 29 Finale, Part 1: "Pian pianin le andrò più presso" (Cherubino, Contessa, Conte, Susanna, Figaro)
  • 7 (5:11) No. 29 Finale, Part 2: "Gente, gente, all'armi, all'armi" (Conte, Figaro, Curzio, Basilio, Antonio, Barbarina, Susanna, Cherubino, Contessa)[1]



  • Tom Krause (1934-2013, bass-baritone), Il Conte, Count Almaviva
  • Anna Tomowa-Sintow (soprano), La Contessa, Countess Almaviva
  • Ileana Cotrubas (soprano), Susanna, maid to the Countess
  • José van Dam (bass-baritone), Figaro, valet to the Count
  • Frederica von Stade (mezzo-soprano), Cherubino, page to the Almavivas
  • Jane Berbié (mezzo-soprano), Marcellina, housekeeper to the Almavivas
  • Jules Bastin (1933-1996, bass), Bartolo, a physician
  • Heinz Zednik (tenor), Basilio, a music teacher
  • Kurt Equiluz (tenor), Don Curzio, a lawyer
  • Zoltan Kélémén (baritone), Antonio, gardener to the Almavivas
  • Christiane Barbaux (soprano), Barbarina, daughter of Antonio, and First Girl
  • Marjon Lambriks (soprano), Second Girl
  • Konrad Leitner, harpsichord continuo
  • Chorus of the Vienna State Opera
  • Norbert Balatsch, chorus master
  • Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Herbert von Karajan (1908-1989), conductor[1]


  • Christopher Raeburn (1928-2009), producer
  • Richard Beswick, assistant producer
  • James Lock, engineer
  • John Dunkerley, engineer
  • Jack Law, engineer[1]

Release history[edit]

In 1979, Decca Records released the album as a set of four LPs (catalogue number D132D4) and two cassettes (catalogue number K132K42), both accompanied by notes, texts and translations.[3] In the USA, the album was released by London Records (catalogue number OSA 1443).[5]

In 1988, Decca issued the album on CD (catalogue number 421 125-2), packaged in a slipcase with a 372-page booklet.[1] The booklet provided libretti, synopses, an essay by Stanley Sadie and a note by Christopher Raeburn on the Moberly-Raeburn proposal, all in English, French, German and Italian.[1] It was illustrated with pictures of Mozart, Beaumarchais and da Ponte; pictures of a playbill for the opera's première and the Vienna Burgtheater where the première took place; pictures of four of the opera's early interpreters; and photographs of Bastin, Berbié, Cotrubas, van Dam, Krause, von Stade, Tomowa-Sintow, Zednik and von Karajan.[1]

In 2012, Decca reissued the album on CD in its "Decca the Opera Company" series (catalogue number 478 343-8) without a printed libretto.[8]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Mozart, W. A.: Le nozze di Figaro, cond. Herbert von Karajan, Decca CD, 421 125-2, 1988
  2. Gramophone, August 2012, p. 84
  3. 3.0 3.1 Gramophone, September 1979, pp. 513-514
  4. Gramophone, October 1979, p. 587
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Stereo Review, December 1979, p.87
  6. Gramophone, July 1988, pp. 197-198
  7. Gramophone, Awards Issue 2011, p. 72
  8. Mozart, W. A.: Il nozze di Figaro, cond. Herbert von Karajan, Decca CD, 478 343-8, 2012

Others articles of the Topic Opera : Monteverdi & Cavalli Arias, Sylvain Fort

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