Tonight I went to see The Marriage of Figaro with a very dear friend of mine, and it was a wonderful experience. The cast was fantastic, the company was great, and the subject matter of the show made me do a lot of shuffling in my seat. The entire show is about love and its intricacies in relationships, and this particular cast even has a sweet background romance in its midst: Figaro (Matthew Burns) and his love, Susanna (Anne-Carolyn Bird), are married in real life, having met playing these roles. As in most epic tales, there’s a juxtaposition between the healthy but circumstantially thwarted love of Figaro and Susanna, the servants of the Count and Countess, and that of the Count and Countess themselves.
It’s been a while since I’ve heard Figaro, and I’ve never seen it live before. As amazing as it was, it was also uncomfortable, because the philandering Count and his embittered, codependent Countess made me cringe. In the third act, the Countess laments her husband’s cruel treatment of her, and the loss of the happiness in their marriage. Maybe I could fix it all, she decides. And she does. Because it’s fiction.
Jane Bishop did a translation of the aria here:
Dove sono i bei moment
Di dolcezza e di piacer?
Dove andaro i giuramenti
Di quel labbro menzogner?
Perchè mai, se in pianti e in pene
Per me tutto si cangiò,
La memoria di quel bene
Dal mio sen non trapassò?
Ah! se almen la mia costanza,
Nel languire amando ognor,
Mi portasse una speranza
Di cangiar l’ingrato cor!
Where are the lovely moments
Of sweetness and pleasure?
Where have the promises gone
That came from those lying lips?
Why, if all is changed for me
Into tears and pain,
Has the memory of that goodness
Not vanished from my breast?
Ah! if only, at least, my faithfulness,
Which still loves amidst its suffering,
Could bring me the hope
Of changing that ungrateful heart!
The drive home was a quiet one, with lots of pondering.