The Marriage of Figaro is a comic opera in four acts composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with a libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte. It premiered in 1786. The play by Beaumarchais was banned in France and most of Europe for its revolutionary spirit. After editing by the imperial censors, Austro-Hungarian emperor Joseph II allowed the premiere at the Burgtheater in Vienna.
A country estate outside Seville in the late 18th century; The Marriage of Figaro takes place several years after the Barber of Seville.
The wedding of Figaro and Susanna is to take place that evening and as a gift, the Count has given them a room to convert into their bedroom – the new quarters conveniently situated between the Countess’ and the Count’s bedrooms so the servants can better attend their respective masters. Figaro is measuring the room for their bed, while Susanna models a new bonnet. She is not happy with the new living arrangements: “While you are off on errands for the Count, he could slip into our room some evening – he has designs on me,” she explains.
Figaro resolves to foil the Count’s plan. Enter Dr. Bartolo and Marcellina. He is still smarting from the escapades of The Barber of Seville, and the barber has promised to marry Marcellina if he can’t repay a debt to her. After Bartolo and Marcellina leave, Cherubino enters. He is desperately in love with every girl he meets. He rushes in to tell Susanna that the Count has caught him misbehaving with the gardener’s daughter, Barbarina. When they hear the Count approaching, Cherubino hides behind the armchair.
The Count enters to intimate his intentions toward Susanna. But just as he is about to approach her, Don Basilio enters. The Count does not want to be found in a compromising situation, so he also hides behind the armchair – as he does, Cherubino quickly slips under the sheet that is covering the chair. Basilio suggests that Cherubino has been lurking around Susanna’s door – and that the page even has a desire for the Countess. When the Count hears this, he flies into a jealous rage. He discovers Cherubino hiding under the armchair cover and realizes that he has heard everything. To get rid of him, he sends him off to the army – a turn of events Figaro delights in.