Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro

Our inaugural performance


Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro

Stowe Opera, out of action since 2005, reappeared at Winslow Hall, continuity ensured by the artistic team of conductor Robert Secret and director Yvonne Fontane, a rare singer to have performed both Carmen and the Countess. Her production of Le nozze di Figaro was just about faultless too, perceptive, funny, sweet, touching, her Countess dramatically many layered and fitting comfortably in the voice. A fabulous ensemble – Marc Callahan’s personable Figaro, Michael Davis as an intelligent and brutal Count......backed up by a true star, Helen Massey’s utterly delightful Susanna, whose confident performance was true joy. Figaro is really a love letter from da Ponte and Mozart to Susanna, and here was a sparky, warm Susanna it was impossible not to love. Nothing fancy here, but all Figaro’s human pathos, plenty of actual humour and a lot of dramatic acuity: of course Cherubino isn’t too charmed by the prospect of marrying Barbarina; of course Susanna realises that “Deh! Vieni, non tardar” is too much revenge on poor Figaro; of course there is an electric charge between the Countess and Cherubino... Secret conducted solidly, occasionally over-cautiously for my taste, but momentum was never lost, and the drama kept going in the pit as well as on stage. It’s not easy to do Figaro right, and this was a treat.

Robert Thicknesse for Opera Now, 22 November 16

After a seven-year hiatus, Stowe Opera has risen phoenix-like at a new venue: the magnificent Winslow Hall, a Grade I- listed mansion situated just over the Buckinghamshire border. The house is now owned by Christopher Gilmour and his wife Mardi, and they have invited Stowe Opera to pitch a tent (well, a large marquee to be precise) in their garden — a garden which features a large, well-sheltered lawn, making it ideal for picnics, given halfway decent weather. Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro is the work chosen.......a sparkling account of the overture gave way to Figaro’s first exchanges with his bride Susanna, it became apparent that the tent possesses excellent acoustics ......

Giles Woodforde for Oxford Times, 22 November 16