Composer Elena Langer has achieved a brilliant success as she “completes” the Figaro “trilogy” for Welsh National Opera. Complementing Mozart’s “Marriage” and Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville,” Langer’s “Figaro Gets a Divorce” brings us the beloved characters down the road form the “Marriage”s happy ending, in this opera “which is part comedy, part political thriller.”
If you can get to Wales, the final performance is April 7! Here is a small taste in WNO’s official trailer. And here are some excerpts from the critical response, all of which make us hope that “Figaro Gets a Divorce” will be performed again soon!
A collaboration between the Russian-born composer Elena Langer and Welsh National Opera’s innovative and artistic (not to mention highly articulate) director David Pountney was always going to be exciting. …. The time scale has moved on … to a period of revolution in the 1930s, with the looming presence of the secret police … All good stuff dramatically. …
This is a fearless and innovative operatic piece…. Though described as a comedy and indeed the antics of the characters more than justify this description, this opera has dark undertones . Langer’s music … represents the restlessness of the era….
From The Telegraph, by Rupert Christiansen — “a modern opera with emotional clout”
The angst of dislocation and dispossession becomes a uniting theme, charged with contemporary resonance, and this soon becomes that rare thing: a modern opera that exerts an immediate emotional impact.
An upcoming young Russian composer based in Britain … Elena Langer must of course take much of the credit: her music is lush and inventive. The vocal lines are gratifyingly expressive, the orchestration colourful – sometimes excessively so, in its hectic urge to illustrate and emote. But that is a fault on the right side, because it radiates warmth and allows personality to shine through
… A score I want to hear again.
The ending of Mozart’s near-flawless pre-French revolution opera buffa, The Marriage of Figaro, is classic happy ever after…. But what happens to Beaumarchais’ beloved characters once the honeymoon is over, through the upheavals of 1789 and beyond?
In the third installment of Welsh National Opera’s wonderfully adventurous ‘Figaro Forever’ season, Elena Langer’s Figaro Gets a Divorce …. Satirically-edged, dark but ultimately optimistic, Langer’s Divorce proves a brilliant follow-up to Mozart’s sparkling Marriage.
Crucially, Langer’s opera stands alone and, … shows a rare, genuine affinity for drama and characterisation; the Figaro backstory adds poignancy but is not essential to the tale.
…Yet, like its ‘prequel’, the heart of Divorce is domestic, not political: how do members of a precarious family group cope with external dangers beyond their control? …[In a] shadow-world reminiscent of Berg, Langer uses delicately intense scoring, lithe with cabaret rhythms and bristling accordion, to convey black humour, terror, ennui and heartache with touching humanity.