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The Marriage of Figaro

Synopsis

Figaro, a servant to the Count, is preparing to marry Susanna, the Countess’s maid. Susanna tells Figaro that Count Almaviva has been pursuing her, and a furious Figaro makes plans to enact his revenge. Marcellina, an older woman, is jealous that Susanna has won Figaro’s heart. The young, flirtatious Cherubino enters, lamenting that the Count is angry with him for getting caught with the gardener’s daughter. Cherubino hides as Count Almaviva enters, attempting to woo Susanna; Almaviva discovers Cherubino and demands that he immediately leave the house and join the military. Figaro asks Almaviva to preside over his wedding, but Almaviva puts him off. The Countess laments the Count’s infidelity and wonders if her husband will ever love her again. Susanna tells the Countess of the plan she and Figaro have hatched to trick the womanizing Count. Almaviva charges into the room with a letter, which Figaro has planted, suggesting that the Countess has been unfaithful. Almaviva nearly catches Cherubino, who leaps from the window to escape. Almaviva learns that Marcellina has a contract whereby Figaro must marry her in order to pay off his debt; the Count is delighted.

Almaviva asks Susanna for a rendezvous in the garden, and the Countess insists that Susanna agree to the assignation. Marcellina demands that Figaro marry her, showing him the contract; in the course of the conversation, Figaro shows Marcellina his birthmark, which she recognizes as that of her long-lost son. Susanna grows jealous as she sees Marcellina and Figaro embrace, until she hears the amazing and happy story. The household gathers for Figaro and Susanna’s wedding. During the wedding dances, Susanna and the Countess move their plan forward: Susanna delivers a letter to the Count, suggesting a tryst in the garden. In the garden, Figaro gets wind of Susanna’s letter to the Count and believes his bride is sneaking around on him. Susanna and the Countess appear, disguised as one another. The Count makes his move on Susanna (who is really the Countess); Figaro tells the Countess (who is really Susanna) about his wife’s philandering. Figaro hears Susanna’s voice and figures out the ruse; laughing, he kisses the real Susanna. Count Almaviva sees this kiss and is furious, until the Countess reveals herself. Almaviva apologizes for his jealousy and his wandering eye, and the tale ends on a happy note.