Le Nozze di Figaro

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

An inventive, brilliant version of The Marriage of Figaro opens the Aix-en-Provence Festival. Revolving décors (Chantal Thomas), an ingenious staging (Richard Brunel), an impressive conductor (Jérémie Rhorer), a beautiful cast… All the ingredients were there for the opening of the Aix-en-Provence Festival d’Art Lyrique to do Mozart’s opera justice.

Gilles Macassar, Télérama

Last Thursday night, Jérémie Rhorer and Richard Brunel gave the audience a pleasurable, refreshing and intelligible show. (…) A show that manages to reconcile Mozart with every generation.

Serge Martin, Le soir

As everything gets so thrilling and enthralling, the combined genius of the staging and the vocal precision of this Marriage of Figaro are especially brilliant.

Eric Lioret, Libération

The Aix staging of the Marriage of Figaro reconciles the sceptics with the modernisation of operas. By combining intelligence, refinement, talent of the highest order (the geniuses of Mozart, Beaumarchais and da Ponte should be motivation enough!), and music that truly serves the text, Richard Brunel succeeds where others have simply annoyed. (…) This endeavour skilfully marries the art of singing with theatricality and great voices with authentic musicology.

Jacques Freschkl, Zibeline

What can explain the dazzling success of the Marriage of Figaro which opened on July 5 at the Aix-en-Provence Festival Lyrique? Is it the inspired, lively, elegant music direction by Jérémie Rhorer, conducting the Cercle de l’Harmonie orchestra as if he was one with them? Is the spiritual and musical staging by Richard Brunel, who directs the actors on stage with the same virtuosity as the conductor directs his orchestra, proving himself to be an excellent director? Is it the sometimes staggering talent of the cast, both in terms of theatrical and vocal brilliance? It is all of the above.

Raphaël de Gubernatis, Le Nouvel Observateur

This would all be anecdotal if not for the scenic intelligence, the zesty acting (Anna Maria Panzarella’s incredible Marcellina deserves special mention) and the ingenuity of the décor which moves before your eyes. These all justify the performance’s bias. While it does not always follow the libretto to the letter, it never betrays its spirit and subversive refinement.

Emmanuelle Guiliani, La Croix

All the actors are vocally skilled, but none is exceptional. However, the cast is so uniform, the actor-singers so close to one another, their acting so remarkable that the audience is swept away. Talent is in no short supply. The obvious like-mindedness of the conductor and the director only strengthens the pleasure we take in hearing and seeing this enchanting creation.

Raphaël de Gubernatis, Le Nouvel Observateur

Beyond the elaborate construction of the concept, the direction of the actors is extraordinary, not only in the general choreography of movements but also in the way each of them inhabits their character, giving them depth, a story and an inner life. Brunel gives meaning to everything, makes theatre from everything.

La Libre Belgique

The expert acting sheds light on a series of meaningful details which reinforce the intelligibility of the libretto and the partition. The director’s vision is generous, humanist, well documented and resolutely positive. He underlines the youth of the characters (Marcellina and Susanna get into a delightful underwear fight in act one), he makes them friendly despite their flaws, never dwelling too long on the situations or feelings expressed. (…) The staging and music direction are tightly intertwined: similar nervousness, similar taste for fast tempos, similar virtuosity in the lightness of the tone; everything coherently converges towards the same goal.

Forum Opéra

The director delights us with a revisited, surprising yet respectful Marriage of Figaro evening. (…) It adopts the tone of teamwork, youth, and a spirit that is indeed more vivifying than melancholic. Let there be life – sometimes, it feels good.

Chantal Cazaux, Avant-scène Opéra

A caustic production by Richard Brunel who set the action at a notary’s office. The reading, which is highly dramatised and, to say the least, innovative, is timed to the second; rhythmical and full of humour, it is perfectly performed by a cast of young lyrical actors who are in tune with the production.

Michel Egéa, La Provence

If you’re going to defy conventions, you might as well be as radical as possible. Richard Brunel understands that. Not only did he create a perfectly coherent show, but the audience also enthusiastically applauded this rather risky time and space shift. Yet, this impressive set-up works perfectly, starting with the flawless direction of actors. The characters’ mindsets are plain to see: frustration, the sorrow of being forsaken and overwhelming desires… The characters are not mere singing puppets. Brunel has them move on a modular space, highly dramatised, creating a permanent movement worthy of this “crazy day”.

Patrick de Marsa, La Marseillaise

More than ever, this Marriage of Figaro is worthy of its subtitle, “crazy day”. The dynamism, the energy and the enthusiasm of its actors give the music a zest and a dramatic character that has rarely been seen. (…) Stunning from start to finish, this interpretation takes music-lovers on a relentless visual whirlwind orchestrated by Richard Brunel. (…) Brunel’s staging relies on multiple perspectives, going all the way into the wings thanks to Chantal Thomas’s stage system which breaks the natural boundaries of the setting. This fluidity, which echoes that of the pit, is very demanding for the actors who seem to be having a wonderful time.

Antonio Mafra, Affiches lyonnaises

Not one single gesture made by the supporting characters and extras is left to chance; all contribute to creating an impressive atmosphere of truthfulness. Everything feels right in this staging of The Marriage of Figaro by Richard Brunel; everything is in perfect harmony with the music. If Richard Brunel brilliantly directs the actors, he also has a cast brimming with dramatic qualities. Everyone is remarkable and remarkably directed. Everyone is alive, body and soul. Not one silhouette is neglected, which gives the ensemble scenes an incredible vitality and authenticity.

Raphaël de Gubernatis, Le Nouvel Observateur

Nozze de Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Opera buffa in 4 acts
Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte

Music director Jérémie Rhorer
Director Richard Brunel
Dramaturg Catherine Ailloud-Nicolas
Set designer Chantal Thomas
Costume designer Axel Aust
Lighting designer Dominique Borrini
Assistant director Matthieu Roy
Movement director Thierry Thieu Niang

Paolo Szot,
Malin Byström,
Patricia Petibon,
Kyle Ketelsen,
Kate Lindsey,
Anna Maria Panzarella,
Mario Luperi,
John Graham-Hall,
Emanuele Giannino,
Mari Eriksmoen,
René Schirrer

Chorus Les Arts Florissants
Orchestra Le Cercle de l’Harmonie

Produced by Festival International d’Art Lyrique d’Aix-en-provence, Théâtre National de Barhein, Opéra de Dijon, Opéra-Théâtre de Saint-Étienne

Remade in 2014

Music director Jonathan Cohen
Choreographer Mathieu Lebot-Morin
Chorus director Mihály Menelaos Zeke
Répétiteur and assistant director Ashok Gupta


Thomas Bauer,
Sarah Jane Brandon,
Maria-Virginia Savastano,
Riccardo Novaro,
Olivia Vermeulen,
Anna Maria Panzarella,
Paolo Battaglia,
Emanuele Giannino,
Joseph Shovelton,
Magali Arnault Stanczak,
Erick Freulon

Chorus de l’Opéra de Dijon
Orchestra Dijon Bourgogne
Chorus Opéra-théâtre de Saint-Etienne
Orchestra Opéra-théâtre de Saint-Etienne