Last Performance of The Marriage of Figaro at ENO

The last performance of the wonderful comic opera The Marriage of Figaro will take place on Thursday 10th November, so don’t miss out and book today! 
Widely considered as one of the greatest opere buffe ever written, The Marriage of Figaro is based on a 1784 play by Pierre- Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais that was particularly controversial in its time because of the satire of aristocracy it conveyed. It had even been said to have led to the French Revolution. Lorenzo da Ponte, Mozart’s librettist, removed most of the political content from the play in order to avoid Viennese censors’ wrath – the play by Beaumarchais had been banned a couple of years before the opera’s premiere – and turned it into a romantic yet still very ironic and wittiful tale of love and forgiveness, that became one of Mozart’s most successful works.
The Marriage of Figaro continues the story of Count Amalviva, Figaro, Rosine and Dr Bartholo from The Barber of Seville, which Rossini has later turned into an opera, premiered in 1816. Count Almaviva is now married to Rosine but the marriage is not a happy one and while the Count covets Susanna, the Countess’ maid engaged to Figaro, Rosine is falling for Cherubino. Add to this Dr Bartholo who still seeks revenge on Figaro for stealing Rosine away from him, a few other colourful characters, and an action that takes place over the course of a single day, Figaro’s wedding day, and it becomes easy to understand why The Marriage of Figaro is subtitled “One Crazy Day”.
Fiona Shaw carries on her fruitful collaboration with the ENO by directing brilliantly this new production. She described how fascinated she was by the string of characters drawn by Mozart and Lorenzo Da Ponte, particularly Susanna and Cherubino, and how this opera makes us feel the very humanity of these different characters. ‘Susanna is the heroine’, she says.‘In fact, in a way, The Marriage of Figaro is a series of characters who all have fragments of human nature. There’s a sorrow in the Countess that doesn’t need to be in Susanna, there’s lust in the Count that doesn’t need to be in Susanna, but she’s often the point of focus for all these feelings.’ About Cherubino: ‘What’s moving is that he does have this huge hormonal lust – and he’s written this beautiful song about it: “Tell me what love is, what can it be”. What Mozart has done is taken human, ordinary, dark, light, strange emotions, infused them with incandescent music and put them back in the mouths of people so we can hear them as very true feelings.’
Conductor and former ENO Music Director Paul Daniel has returned to lead this predominantly British cast, with three rising star singers, Iain Patterson as Figaro, Kate Valentine as the Countess and Roland Wood as the Count. I also particularly enjoyed mezzo-soprano Kathryn Rudge as Cherubino, and soprano Devon Guthrie who makes her debut as Susanna. To describe the heavenly sensation of hearing the harmony in their combined voices cannot even start to be covered by words, it just has to be enjoyed!

Laurie Guillem

Last Performance of The Marriage of Figaro on Thursday 10th November at 7pm. Booking available on the ENO website

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Best wedding reality shows to watch on Netflix

Whether you need inspiration to plan your big day or relive romantic memories, these wedding reality shows on Netflix are perfect to watch with your partner or even just by yourself.  
From Instagram-worthy trends to flamboyant personalised weddings, through these shows you will witness real, emotional and authentic love stories, along with binge-worthy drama spanning the entire process. Without further ado, here’s the list of some of the top wedding reality shows on Netflix to stream. 
Say I Do 
Image credit: Netflix
Say I Do is one of the most critically acclaimed weddings shows on Netflix that restores one’s faith in dream weddings. From the creators of Queer Eye, this heart-tugging show is made in the same vein — to help the couples create their dream wedding with a curated venue, lavish cuisine, Pinterest-y décor and more. 
The trio of industry experts — Vietnamese-American fashion designer Thai Nguyen, American interior design expert Jeremiah Brent and Italian chef Gabriele Bertaccini unite to create a magical, feel-good wedding that you will watch with a smile and a tear. 
Watch here  
The Big Day 
Image credit: Netflix
The Big Day wraps up cliched big-fat Indian weddings, feisty and luxurious celebrations and even bigger emotional undercurrents. Netflix’s six-part wedding series explores the extravagance of India’s billion-dollar wedding industry with striking visuals and heart-warming traditions. It also showcases couples belonging to different religions as well as those of the same sex, making the show diverse and progressive. 
Shot in exotic locations across India and around the globe, the series also gives insights into several wedding themes from sustainable to modern and ultra-chic.  
Watch here 
The Wedding Coach 
Image credit: Netflix
The Wedding Coach explores the details of nerve-wracking wedding planning that can sometimes be a nightmare for couples. The show’s comic host Jamie Lee, a former bride, comes to the rescue of struggling couples with her expertise and tips to make their big day a success. 
Jamie helps couples reconnect with each other, relieve pre-wedding jitters with occasional humour and suggest activities such as pottery and hiking to get them through the stress of the wedding process.  
Watch here 
Marriage or Mortgage 
Image credit: Netflix
Marriage or Mortgage is a take on the dilemma that couples face when they have to choose between their dream wedding or a house. The first episode is about a young couple — Liz and Evan — who have $35,000 (approximately HKD 2,71,890) in savings and are facing the tough decision to either commit to their dream wedding or buy a home.  
The story follows 10 couples in Nashville where a real estate agent (Nicole Holmes) and a wedding planner (Sarah Miller) compete to persuade couples to make the best decision. The reality series is full of personal details, behind the scenes drama of wedding planning and the crude reality of real-estate in the US, with each episode focusing on one couple at a time.   
Watch here  
Indian Matchmaking 
Image credit: Netflix
Indian Matchmaking is another binge-worthy wedding show on Netflix that follows the lead of Mumbai-based matchmaker Sima Taparia and documents the pre-wedding process. 
Seema strives to find potential suitors for her South Asian clients based on their horoscopes, family dynamics, unique preferences for food, lifestyle, looks and more, making it a light and informative show. 
The series contains eight episodes and you will find everything from quirky Indian phrases to truth bombs, arranged marriage trivia and several meme-worthy gems that you just can’t afford to miss.   
Watch here 
Extreme Engagement  
Image credit: Netflix
Extreme Engagement offers the best of both worlds with both travel and wedding reality shows in one. The series features engaged lovebirds exploring wedding traditions and practises in different cultures as they embark on a year-long journey across the globe. 
It shows the trials and tribulations as the couples go through the process while experiencing fascinating rituals and customs of remote tribes in Cameroon, Indonesia, Papa New Guinea and more.   
Watch here 
Love is Blind 
Image credit: IMDb
Love is Blind is a dating experiment on finding true love with a wild twist – dating couples are not allowed to see each other. The series catches all the romantic whirlwinds with drama, happy tears, heartbreaks, intimate conversations and much more. 
The show ends with couples seeing each other for the first time at the altar either to say ‘I do’ and walk down the aisle or end their relationship forever. The show is getting renewed for a much-awaited second season and recently released an official teaser titled After the Altar.  
Watch here 
(Hero Image credit: Gianni Scognamiglio via Unsplash, Featured Image credit: Netflix)
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