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Mozart, Le Nozze di Figaro: French or Italian?

By Maggie Milano

Page from Score

French or italian?

This particular version of Le Nozze di Figaro was printed for a production in Paris, as noted in the opening page. The recitative is written in Italian, as it was important to note the Italian Opera tradition. However, as you can see, underneath the Italian text in Barbarina’s aria “L’ho perduta, me meschina,” there is french text printed. This could have been for two reasons: one, this score was for recreational/amateur use for people to sing and play at home; or in this particular performance, the singers performed the arias, duets, trios, and choral numbers in French to appeal to audiences. Performing the arias in French makes the opera more accessible to amateur performers and listeners. Though Italian Opera was celebrated across Europe, french culture in particular is known to have strong nationalism and pride in their country. It is not surprising to see a celebration of the French language printed in this score.