Le nozze di Figaro struggles at the Royal Albert Hall

It is difficult to know for sure why the first hour of Le nozze di Figaro by Michael Grandage struggled so much during its first appearance at the Royal Albert Hall because in previous performances the opera has been quite professional and solid.

Of course, it is a known fact that the venue is much larger and almost similar to a cavern potentially causing some of the voices to get carried away. However, it is likely that there are some problems with the original production and original casting that were magnified in the larger setting as well.

First off, there is not much of a difference in the lead female voices with the Countess, Susanna, and Cherubino all starting to blend together after a few minutes (voiced by Sally Matthews, Lydia Tuescher, and Isabel Leonard respectively).

It was also evident that some of the characters had fallen a bit flat such as the attempt of Figaro offered to the audience by Vito Priante who made the main character seem unyielding and stiff instead of lifelike and emotional.

It would have been nice if a little bit of vulgarity had also counteracted the refinement of the Orchestra and other characters, but Audun Iversen was not able to offer any even though her role as the uncouth Count should have been the much needed comic relief.

Finally, the major flaw comes in the concept and set change that Grandage was trying out that just did not seem to work on stage. His idea was to set the opera back in the seventies as a sex comedy versus its more traditional setting and this clashed quite a bit with the times of Mozart forcing the music and the play to butt heads at every interval from the casting to the costumes to the set.