LE NOZZE DI FIGARO | Berlin, Delphi Theatre

Mozart’s ‘Le Nozze di Figaro’, directed by Nina Brazier at the Delphi Theater in Berlin, inaugurated Opernfest, the International Festival of Young Opera Singers, hosted by the Berlin Opera Academy. Brazier’s production was characterized by an economy of gesture married to an unbridled sense of whimsical fun.

Based on Beaucharchais’ eponymous play, Mozart’s popular opera weaves serious gender and class topics into a ribald tapestry of love and desire. After all, beneath the madness of mistaken identities, alarming forces are at work: Count Almaviva wishes to use his right as a nobleman to claim sexual favours from servant girl Susanna on her wedding night to Figaro.

Led by Peter Leonard, the Orchestra of the Berlin Opera Academy deserves special mention, infusing life into Mozart’s variegated music through layered and energetic work that was also restrained. It was a fantastically reliable ensemble, showcasing the singers and their unique voices. These performers, who represent a veritable trove of young operatic talent, impressed by tackling this mammoth head-on. Elen Lloyd Roberts’ Susanna, Alice Wielant’s Countess, Katherine Wiswell’s Marcellina and Sophie Kidwell’s Cherubino were particularly adept at merging technical mastery with truth in storytelling.

Brazier’s production was able to spotlight Mozart’s genius, while simultaneously teasing out relevant social issues and showcasing the idiosyncratic brilliance of the singers. The cherry on the cake was the setting: the Delphi theatre, inaugurated in 1929. It offered the perfect sanctuary for a fraught yet carefree reverie.

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