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Learn about the piece:

The Marriage of Figaro Overture

Composed by

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

1756-1791

Orchestration

2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani, strings


composed 1786. First performance: May 1, 1786, Burgtheater, Vienna. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, conductor.

notes by Katherine Baber

The overture to The Marriage of Figaro not only reminds us that Mozart wrote as ably for the theater as he did any other genre, but it also proves his knack for turning out a pretty tune. Without quoting from the opera to come, he manages to produce a plethora of ideas to keep his listener amused throughout this self-contained overture. His sense of humor is also on display as he keeps up a jovial atmosphere. Beginning with a burble from the bassoons and strings, the orchestra tumbles endlessly forward in a way that foreshadows the antics of the opera’s cast. The woodwinds giggle, the violins throw elbows, and over it all, singing melodies express unbridled joy.

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