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Germany, 1976 (MIFF 1999, Mozart: Mad & Marvellous)

Director: Jean-Pierre Ponnelle

Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's Marriage of Figaro remains one of the definitive examples of the genre. A bold and ambitious production, Ponnelle made no compromises with this live staging. Following the action of The Barber of Seville, Figaro's master, Count Almaviva, is now married to his love Rosina. Feeling the temptation of infidelity, he pursues the affections of the maid Susanna, who is engaged to Figaro. The count tries to steer Figaro towards the noblewoman Marcellina, while Figaro schemes to reunite the Count and Countess.

Consistent with Ponnelle's focus, he assembles a cast of operatic heavy-weights befitting the demands of the roles: including Hermann Prey as Figaro, Mirella Freni as Susanna and Kiri te Kanawa as the Countess. Top class vocalists are matched by the superb score conducted by Karl Bohm and performed by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. For those familiar with Ponnelle's work, his directorial spirit and wit shine through in every frame. Vivid, cinematically rich, a true delight.

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