Saturday, September 19, 2015



Here again is that seventeen-year old devil known to us by the name Cherubino (in Mozart's version of The Marriage of Figaro, originally a French play by Beaumarchais). He is still chasing ladies, notably Countess Almaviva, as he celebrates his promotion from pageboy to officer in the army; but Susanna is no longer available (she and her husband Figaro are not in the picture). The objects of his affection (not to say seduction) are the Countess, a Baroness, a Spanish dancer (L'Ensoleillad), and Nina (The Countess's maid); Barbarina is missing, too. He is involved in three duels, but manages to worm his way out of all three, and he chooses to marry Nina.
   This opera of Jules Massenet (1905) is  based on a play by Francis de Croisset. Beaumarchais had already written his own sequel to the two Figaro comedies (The Guilty Mother, made into an opera by Darius Milhaud), in which Figaro and Susanna play a pivotal role in protecting the Countess from the Count's unwarranted jealousy. In that story, Chérubin actually has his way with the Countess Rosine, but he goes off to die in battle; she bears a son named Léon, and the Count knows it is not his; but he has a ward named Florestine (fathered by him).

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