Enlightenment comedies

By Miranda Wilson

While playing in Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro this week, the thought occurred to me that while this opera is always presented as a frothy comedy of manners and mistaken identities, the underlying subject matter is very dark. Everything comes out all right in the end, but only because those with inherited power and wealth choose to make it so. While the servant characters make lively fun of the aristocratic Count, his entitlement to do exactly as he pleases is never seriously challenged.

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