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The Comedy of Marriage
Posted May 17, 2010 to photo album "The Comedy of Marriage"
In anticipation of the release of Lisa Cholodenko’s comedy The Kids Are All Right, FilmInFocus’ Peter Bowen and Nick Dawson look at works across multiple mediums that also poke fun at the institution of marriage.
Slide 2: The Marriage of Figaro (1786)
When Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera The Marriage of Figaro premiered on May 1, 1786 at Vienna’s Burgtheater, it was greeted with much applause, even though its source material, Pierre Beaumarchais’ play 1784 La folle journée, ou le Mariage de Figaro had been banned in Vienna. The state was less concerned with play’s sexual content than with the way it ridiculed the aristocracy. In translating the play into an Italian opera, Mozart’s librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte also turned all the plays political indiscretions into martial ones. The title marriage between Figaro and his bride-to-be Susanna is threatened by the fear that Count Almaviva may exercise his “droit de Seigneur,” an ancient ritual that permits the ruling aristocrat to sleep with a potential bride. But the plays convoluted, farcical plot turns the table on the Count. In the end, there is only one thing scarier than the Count, and that is an angry countess who catches her husband attempting to stray.