Richard Morris in his introduction sketches in the historical background to the opera. But as the opera is based on a Beaumarchais play, he also adds the very necessary pre-history from Beaumarchais' earlier play The Barber of Seville. He has written the poetry in terza rima which uses three-line stanza's with complex chains of rhymes. This gives the verse an onward, flowing quality as the middle line of stanza rhymes with the outer two lines of the next stanza. It also successfully avoids a rum-ti-tum quality in the poetry which would not sit well with the plot.
While Figaro is measuring the room,
Susanna's trying on her wedding hat
and needs the full attention of her groom.
But when he tells her, at her bidding, that
the room's for them, she reads beneath the text
and knows at once their ship is heading at
the rocks, for their married quarters will be next
to the bedroom of their lord, Count Almaviva;
they've known for long the Count is over-sexed,
now her man must wake up and believe her:
she his future wife's become the target
for seduction by this carnal high achiever.
Richard Morris's verses are aptly illustrated with Hatty Morris and Sayaka Takeuchi's black and which illustrations, with their extensive use of pattern and a delightful cast of characters.
Elsewhere on this blog:
- WIN an evening with Divas and Scholars: History of Opera
- Historically informed performance - historic voices
- Poised and inspiring: Mozart's sacred music from Salzburg, choir of New College, Oxford - CD review
- Smart and a little bit rude: Fascinating Aida in Charm Offensive
- Bach: Christmas Oratorio - Trinity College, Cambridge Choir and the OAE, Stephen Layton
- David Bednall: Welcome all Wonders
- Bach: Mass in B Minor - Clare College Choir and the Aurora Orchestra, Nicholas Collon
- Veni Emmanuel Music for Advent from Clare College Choir, Graham Ross
- Goodnight, Mr Tom, Tower Theatre Company at the Bridewell Theatre - Theatre review
- Dramatically vivid Messiah from Temple Church with David Hill and BBC Singers - Concert review
- Handel Belshazzar William Christie and Les Arts Florissants - CD review
- Fantastic Fantasio Opera Rara and the OAE at the Festival Hall - Opera review
- Tallis Scholars at Temple Winter Festival - Concert review
- Intensely moving: Poulenc's Carmelites at Theatre des Champs Elysees, Paris
- Magical: My Fair Lady at the Chatelet Theatre, Paris