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No one has to be a passionate listener and follower of classical music to have heard or to be familiar with this piece. Nor does anyone need to be a firm follower of this music to know the name of Mozart. Having said that, there is a reason why most know the sound of this piece along with the name it’s composer. Overture to The Marriage of Figaro is one of the most familiarizing and well known classical music works of all time. This piece lead to huge praise of Mozart, and made this Opera an instant classic. So, where did it all start? How did it all come about? What exactly was it? These were the questions that made an average person like me wanting to find the answers.
This was a musical work that I was very interested in learning about. Now, I don’t listen to a lot of classical music and am in no way an expert on composers. However Mozart has always been my favorite one. Between his career as a composer to his personality, he has always been a fascinating character to me. This became one of his most recognized pieces that majority of people are at least somewhat familiar with, even if you aren’t a follower of classical music. However, before I get to far into the piece let me tell you a little bit about Mozart and who he was before he wrote this musical work. He was born in 1756 as a child protesty who was writing his own compositions at the age of six, Mozart’s childhood was mainly made up of touring Europe with his sister to show off his young musical talents (Mozart).
The year is now 1786, and Mozart has spent his entire life on the move, never able to find steady work, and simply trying to find a steady paycheck (Mozart). Mozart would then team up with the librettist Lorenzo De Ponte to create the opera The Marriage of Figaro in a span of six weeks, and Mozart finished the Overture just two days before the first showing (Tobias). This Opera was a sequel if you will, to a stage comedy by Beaumarchais in 1782 (Tobias). Which was actually quite controversial as it involved servants rebelling against their own masters (Olsson). This of course angered King Louis XIV, and the Austrian Government who would end up banning the play from its borders (Tobias). But, let’s get back to this opera. The first showing was May 1st, 1786 at the Burgtheater in Vienna (Steinberg, Michael, et al.). And, while though the show would have some good feedback from the audience, it really wasn’t until this opera went to Prague until it became a smash hit (Steinberg, Michael, et al.). In fact, while Mozart was in Prague he wrote back to one of his friends,“Here nothing is talked about except Figaro; nothing is played, blown, sung, or whistled except Figaro; no opera draws the crowds like Figaro—it’s always Figaro. Certainly it’s a great honor to me” (Steinberg, Michael, et al.). The show was officially a huge success. Still to this day is is widely known as one of the greatest operas ever written. The mix of comedy and devastation really drew people in and left them wanting more as a result. The only thing left to be said out of the theatre was that Mozart had done it again.
Another reason why this piece was so wildly popular and is still to this day recognized as a great musical work, is how it represents the classical period. For starters it was part of an opera buffa which was one of two popular types of operas at this time. It connected to middle class families and average citizens who wanted to see a show about a servant being victorious over his master. And that is exactly what the opera was about. It was man’s rebellion against their masters and in the end the average servant wins and defeats the rulers of the time. It was an opera that any middle class or average person would be instantly drawn too. Now as for the piece itself has many connections to the classical period.
I’ve always enjoyed listening to this piece of music. It’s such a happy, cheerful, and upbeat piece of music. I love when it explodes into its main theme. It is like a celebration song. I feel like it’s a song I would play if I scored well on a test I thought I failed. It’s a joyous and almost victorious musical piece. I mean who wouldn’t like it? It sounds like the phrase, “happy ending”, because that’s what it feels like it is expressing. An exciting and rejoyceful piece for this opera. The beginning of the piece starts out with almost a buzzing sound and then it jumps right into one of the best and most recognizable tunes in the history of classical music. I would highly recommend anyone who hasn’t yet heard this piece to do so. Although it’s such a famous work of art, I can’t imagine someone not having heard it before.
Though Mozart would create so many wonderful and brilliant pieces of music in his short thirty-five year life. His Overture to The Marriage of Figaro will go down as one of the most impressive and recognized pieces yet. Although he spent the majority of his life roaming around looking for stable work with a steady source of income, he would find a great opportunity with The Marriage of Figaro to show the world once again his capabilities. The way he expressed the classical period in his work, finding the right sound for this opera buffa. It is one of my favorite pieces in classical music and the story behind it is quite special as well. It seems that in today’s world, we only hear famous works of art like this in commercials or television without knowing who composed it, and the actual context in which it was originally played. It is a musical work such as this, that created the music we know and love today.
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