OGSA previews Arizona Opera’s production of The Marriage of Figaro April 1 in Oro Valley and April 5 in Tucson. Past president Carol Garrard considers the socio-political background of the opera and the play it is based on.
When Lincoln met Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, he said, “So you are the little lady who made this great war.” And indeed, her book did play a role in marshaling Northern opinion against slavery. But how many Americans know about the role the French author Pierre-Augustin Beaumarchais played in the role of helping the infant United States in their revolution against the British King George III? And even more astonishing, how many know the role his play, The Marriage of Figaro had in setting off the French Revolution which would not only topple the French monarchy but send King Louis XVI and his queen Marie Antoinette to the guillotine?
Napoleon came to describe The Marriage of Figaro as “the Revolution already in action.” But was he referring to Beaumarchais’ play or Mozart’s opera? Exploring the answer takes us on a fascinating journey: where art ends, and history begins.Read entire article