Mois Année
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"Let's discover the Galilee
with Mozart"
March 2022

Act III

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At the beginning of the third act, the Count has still not understood anything of the events of the morning that he reiterates: " An anonymous bill... the cameraman locked up in a cabinet... my troubled wife... a man who jumps from the balcony... another who accuses himself of being the one who jumped... I do not know what to think ".  On the other hand, he has not yet given up the hope to seduce Susanna. Obedient to the Countess, she pretends to accept the rendez-vous that the Count has fixed for the evening in the garden. The Count is delighted, the duet "Crudel, perché finora" reveals the ardour of the feelings of the Count "Cruel! Why have you kept me languish until now?" in contrast with the detachment of Susanna "the women need time to say yes ".
 
While leaving the Count, Susanna crosses Figaro and asserts to him, a little too loudly, that he has won his trial. But the Count has heard and his desire of revenge starts up again: "I was going to fall into the trap! perfidious! I will punish you for your insolence. The judgment will be given according to my good pleasure... Insolent (Figaro) you did not come into the world to torment me and laugh in addition to my misfortune... The only hope of my revenge fills me with joy " (Air and recitative “Vedro mentr'io sospiro, felice un servo moi?”).
 
Here we are, Figaro's trial is introduced, the judge Don Curzio condemns him to pay his debt or to marry Marcellina. But can Figaro marry without the consent of his parents, he argues! But where are they anyway? Who are they? Could it be a foundling, Bartolo asks?
Surprise! Spectacular turn of events! One discovers, to everyone’s amazement, that Figaro is the son of Marcellina and Bartolo. Obviously: he, his father; she, his mother ... marriage is impossible! Everybody kisses each other "Sweet happiness that this moment" except the desappointed Count "Cruel moment that this moment" (Sextuor : "Reconosci in questo amplesso"). A double wedding is coming: Figaro and Susanna on the one hand ... Bartolo and Marcellina who will legalize their union the same evening on the other hand.
 
While waiting for Susanna’s return, the Countess lets herself go to the melancholy and thinks of her lost happiness " Where did these days of tenderness go... ". (Aria : "Dove sono")[1] . Suzanne returns and writes to the Countess’s dictation a note intended for the Count specifying the time and the place of the nocturnal rendez-vous "under the pines of the grove" (Duet: "Canzonetta sull'aria ... Che suoave zeffiretto"). It is in reality the Countess who will go there in the clothes of her chambermaid.
 
The festivities of the wedding are about to begin. Cherubino, mixed with the girls of the village who have come to offer flowers to the Countess, is unmasked by the Count. Barberina saves the situation by singing "Lord give me Cherubino in marriage and I will love you as much as my little cat". The Count's anger is quelled by the joyful arrival of the bridal procession to a fandango tune (the only Spanish element in the score). A Chorus bursts out in praise of the Count, who is thanked for having abolished the "droit de Seigneur".
 
The ceremony can begin! While receiving her wedding veil, Suzanne gives to the Count the note dictated by the Countess.

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Act IV

The action unfolds now in the garden of the castle where abound groves and bowers.
 
Barberina is troubled, following the instructions of the note, the Count sent her to carry the pin to Suzanne but the young girl lost it "I lost it... poor me". (Cavatina "L'ho perduta"). Figaro teases Barberina but this story of pin worries him. Wouldn't Susanna have already succumbed to the Count's assaults by accepting this rendez-vous? He confides his fears to his mother Marcellina who doubts Susanna’s duplicity "only we poor women are always treated with cruelty by these perfidious men" (Aria: "Il capro e la capretta").
 
There follows a dialogue between Figaro, Bartolo and Basilio who recognizes that "in this world, rubbing shoulders with the great is always dangerous, ... but to survive, the little people, can escape shame, perils and death ... in front of a ferocious animal, a donkey skin may suffice" (Aria: "In quegl' anni, in cui val poco").
 
Figaro is left alone, he decides to take revenge and to confound the lovers in front of exeryone "everything is ready", cursing the female gender "Ah, trusting women is madness! Open your eyes imprudent and stupid men" (Recitative and aria : "Tutto e disposto - Aprite un po'quegl'occhi").
 
At the approach of the Countess and Susanna (who have exchanged their clothes) Figaro hides to listen to them. Susanna, who has been warned by Marcelina, also wants to play a trick on Figaro who dares to doubt her fidelity. "The rascal is on sentry, let's entertain ourselves, let's make him pay for his suspicions", she sings her hope to find her beloved "The moment has come to be happy in the arms of the one I love" (Air "Giunse alfin il momento...Deh vieni, non tardar ")[2]
 
The rendez-vous is approaching, the comedy of the false identities can begin. The night is favourable to misunderstandings: Cherubino undertakes to seduce the one he believes to be Susanna but who is in reality the Countess. The false Susanna resists him. Cherubino attempts a kiss which is received by the Count who has come to intervene. The slaps rain down, Cherubino decamps leaving the Count alone with his false Susanna. It is now up to the Count to court the false Susanna and to offer her a beautiful ring as a token of love.
 
The Count flees and it is around Susanna under the clothes of the Countess to try to seduce Figaro. Figaro is drunk with anger but having recognized Susanna's voice understands the trick and, after having entered into her game by becoming more and more enterprising, confesses to her having recognized her. The newlyweds make peace and launch into a great love scene "Let's run my love and let the pleasure compensate the pain!”.
 
But Suzanna is still in the clothes of the Countess and the Count, believing to see his adulterous wife in the arms of a gallant, emerges from a bush and calls his people, determined to punish the guilty. He brings out of the bushes one by one Cherubina, Barbarina, Marcellina and the presumed guilty.
 
The masks fall to the great confusion of the Count when the true Countess appears. The Count has no other solution than to implore the forgiveness of his wife. She accepts his apology, the couples reform for the finale "Contessa perdono... Questo giorno di tormenti" and the opera ends in general rejoicing "Thus we are all happy, only love could conclude this day in joy and gladness".

Bonuses

For the revival of the “Nozze” in Vienna in 1789, the "Ferrarese", a singer called to play the role of Susanna, obtained from Da Ponte (whose mistress she was) to rewrite two arias from the opera, including the "Deh vieni" in Act IV, which was replaced by "Al desio" (the recitative remains unchanged). As Jean Victor HOCQUARD[3] points out "these two arias have nothing in common, not even the words: Suzanna would never have had this passionate cry on the word "moriro". It is therefore out of the question to substitute the new aria for the old one... One may wonder why Mozart rewrote this piece to put it in place of the Deh vieni of the 1786 Opera?" Jean Victor Hocquard suggests a secret and personal reason: "Could Mozart have heard the moving aria inspired by his beloved Nancy Storace, creator of the role sung by Mrs. Ferrarese in this Viennese revival of 1789, without being heartbroken?”
 
Nowadays, this very "concertante" aria is only interpreted as a great concert aria that should be considered as an aria detached from any context in order to appreciate its undeniable beauties[4].

[1] “Dove Sono” is probably the longest and most moving aria in this opera.
[2] This aria was deleted for the 1789 revival in Vienna and replaced by the aria “Al desio di chi t’adora” cf. Bonuses
[3] Cf. V. Hocquard in “Mozart in his concert airs”

[4] This aria was deleted for the 1789 revival in Vienna and replaced by the aria “Al desio di chi t’adora” cf. Bonuses