University of Hartford "H" Magazine - Winter 2019

University of Hartford

When the University of Hartford was incorporated just over 50 years ago by business and community leaders, they envisioned a center of education and culture for Greater Hartford. Read more...

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Sunday Afternoon at the Opera - Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro

09/24/2023 1:00 pm
09/24/2023 4:30 pm


Sunday Afternoon at the Opera host Keith Brown writes:

I have regularly featured historic recordings, and once again on this occasion, I will be presenting one that originated at Glyndebourne. When it was first recorded in festival production there in 1935, Mozart's Cosí Fan Tutte (1790) was virtually unknown on the operatic stage, as were so many of the Mozart operas, with the possible exception of Don Giovanni, which had occasionally been performed in the nineteenth and earlier twentieth centuries. Way back on Sunday, December 27, 1987 I broadcast the Seraphim LP reissue of the monaural 78 rpm recording of Cosí with Fritz Busch conducting. In 1934 the wealthy English blueblood John Christie opened to the public the newly built opera house on his ancestral estate at Glyndebourne, Sussex not far South of London. Christie was committed to the revival of Mozart's neglected operatic masterworks. His wife, soprano Audrey Mildmay, sang in early Glyndebourne productions of them. Summer festivals at Glyndebourne became a fixture on the international opera scene.

I next broadcast Don Giovanni (1787) as it was taped at the 1955 Festival, which RCA Victor picked up for release stateside on mono hi-fi LPs (Sunday, October 14, 1990). Then came a digitally remastered CD issue in early stereo sound of Le Nozze di Figaro (1786), made live-in-performance at the 1962 Festival. Silvio Varviso directed the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Glyndebourne Chorus. And what a distinguished international singing cast for its time! Italian soprano, Mirella Freni, is Susanna, the Turkish, Leyla Gencer was the Countess, and Swiss, Edith Mathis took on the breeches role of Cherubino. French baritone, Gabriel Bacquier, portrayed Count Almaviva. Figaro was the American, Heinz Blankenburg. Glyndebourne Enterprises, Ltd. released the 1962 "Marriage of Figaro" in digitally reprocessed sonics on three silver discs in 2008. I last presented this classic old recording on Sunday, December 14, 2008 and do so a second time this afternoon.