"This one was the second I bought, I also had the Solti recording, and I loved it. I thought it was much better than the Solti recording mainly because of that in the Solti recording all the fun was gone.My only objection with this recording is Carlos Feller who sings Bartolo. His aria in Act 1 was very unsteady. Other than that it was a wonderful experience. I loved Bryn Terfel in the title role. He displayed the comedy extremely well and with Alison Hagley as his Susanna with her beautifully pure innocent voice, were they a wonderful pair.I also loved Rodney Gilfrey and Hillevi Martinpelto as the Count and Countess. Gardiner really made a magificent performance with these wonderful artists.I later bought the Kleiber version from Decca Legends and although I loved that recording too, it is this one that always go back to. It was commented that the coughs and laughing were definitive negative aspects of this recording, but I'd say that it adds a lot to the atmosphere. But I'm a guy that loves the live performances, because of the added atmosphere and adrenaline of the live performances.Once again, a magificent recording."
Simply The Best!
Erik Aleksander Moe | 03/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Come on now. Is there any other conception of this opera that even comes close? Gardiner feels the music, the tempi, the momentum as no other. Yes, I have heard all the classic recordings, but they all sound dead compared to this one. The singers are all at least good (Terfel is great)with the possible exception of the countess who is a liability on most recordings, but she isn't that bad. Gardiner's attention to musical detail (even though somewhat obscured by the live recording) is awesome. I can't stop listening to it."
line2602 | N-0560 OSLO Norway | 02/13/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Despite some flaws this is the best Figaro in the catalogue. Lots of humour and very realistic "noises" makes the opera real, you can almost see the play/acting. When the Count nocks on Susanna's door I get fooled every time and run to my own front-door to see who's there. :-)"
Great Performance, sound is shaky
Santa Fe Listener | 08/21/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This was a great performance, no doubt. It has several great singers in it, but there were also a couple of problems. Terfel's Figaro was fabulously funny, and I love Alison Hagley's Susanna(she is in the video of Figaro with Bernard Haitink, too). Martinpelto is not quite the most tragicly beautiful Countess ever, but she has a very nice voice, and gave an admirable performance. I love Gilfry's Count, too. However, Pamela Helen Stephen's Cherubino was awful. Weak, boring, and wimpy, "Voi che sapete" was made fun of by taking it Allegro. The audience was a bit loud, too. Still, don't let that keep you from buying this cd for the 4 great principles."
A musical, appealing Figaro, but not lovable or wise enough
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 03/10/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"For some reason Figaro's essence hasn't been caught on recordings very often. It is meant to be a comedy of manenrs in which the downstairs characters, Susanna and Figaro, are clever, witty, and lovable. They are pitted against a pair of forlorn aristocrats who need to learn to love again. Mozart sees all sides of this quartet with humor, pathos, and wisdom. When all these ingredients are balanced, the result is a miracle of tears and smiles. Naturally, it's extremely hard to achieve this ideal, especially given the musical demands that must also be met.
Gardiner's staged version possesses about half the necessary spirit. It's lively and alert, and one believes in Figaro and Susanna as a pair of clever characters. Musically we get a lot of inventive recitatives and brisk conducting of the various famous set pieces. I only mis the humanity and the fun. Everyone is being too dutiful to Mozart's reputation, and in addiiton Gardiner's pet singers who occupy the principal roles aren't great Mozarteans. Without Bryn Terfel to dominate the proceedings, and an excellent Count from Gilfry, we are left with a pretty average Susanna and Countess, and a Cherubino who exhibits many vocal flaws in her two big arias. The orchestra is quite polished, supporting the persuasive stage work. For all those vitures I'd rate this a very good Marriage of Figaro that falls short of the heights (and depths) of the score."