From The YouTube Music Video Archives: Signori! di fuori son già i suonatori from Le nozze di Figaro

Seattle Opera is playing one of Mozart’s finest through May 16. This trio is … so beautiful; certainly one of Mozart’s greatest achievements … no; one of the greatest achievements in the history of music. No, actually it’s the greatest achievement of all artistic endeavors in human history. That’s me doing an imitation of “Victor Eremita” in Either/Or. Kierkegaard’s greatest problem probably boils down to mistaking Don Giovanni as the high point of classical art. Moreover, the problematic nature of “The Immediate Erotic Stages or the Musical Erotic” in Either/Or has much to do with this failure to recognize Figaro as Mozart’s greatest work. Both Don Giovanni and Figaro are comedies about the role of erotic love in human society, but Figaro ends happily for all concened – forgiveness asked for and then granted. Don Giovanni ends with the hero, really an anti-hero, dragged down to hell by the guilt of his sins. Question: is the inclusion of Hell necessary for a full portrait of humanity?

Maybe, but must it really end there? I prefer Figaro’s evasions here:
Mente il ceffo, io già non mento.
(My face is lying then: I’m not.)

And then Susanna and the Contessa’s gentle revelation:
Il talento aguzzi invano
palesato abbiam l’arcano,
non v’è nulla da ridir.
(All your talent’s in vain
we have revealed the secret,
there’s nothing more to say.)

So the Count chimes in:
Che rispondi?
(So what do you say?)

Figaro takes the advice of the Contessa and Susanna:
Niente, niente.
(Nothing, nothing.)

The Count persists:
Dunque accordi?
(Then you own it?)

Non accordo.
(No, I don’t, sir!)

The Contessa and Susanna plead and declare:
Eh via, chetati, balordo,
la burletta ha da finir.
(Hold your tongue, you fool,
the comedy is over.)

“Not quite!” says Figaro:
Per finirla lietamente
e all’usanza teatrale
un’azion matrimoniale
le faremo ora seguir.
(Then, to end it properly
and in accordance with theatrical tradition
we now go to continue
with our marriage ceremony.)


  1. Jonathan Webb says

    Terrific. Thanks.

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