As a prelude to The Genius of Mozart, Radio 3's major new season in the new year, a rare chance to hear Beaumarchais' original play. Bristling with social and political conflict, behind the comic intrigues of da Ponte's libretto lies a drama that was considered too dangerous to be allowed to be performed in its own time. It is edgy, political, dealing with class and stroppy servants sensing the smell of Revolution in the air.

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The author, Beaumarchais, led a life as colourful as the world of his plays. At the height of the French Revolution, as he had been a royal servant, he was brought before the Revolutionary council. His life was spared when he declared in his defence that he was the creator of Figaro. This character epitomised the underdog striving to be free and was hugely popular with the revolutionaries. Napoleon realised its power when he declared it to be 'the Revolution in action'.

Figaro ….. Rupert Degas;
Count ….. Nicholas Rowe;
Suzanne ….. Joannah Tincey;
Countess ….. Clare Wille;
Antonio/Double-Main ….. Sean Barrett;
Marceline ….. Frances Jeater;
Bazile/Pedrillo ….. Hugh Dickson;
Brid'oison ….. Stephen Thorne;
Bartholo ….. Anton Lesser;
Fanchette ….. Gina Bramhill;
Cherubin/Gripe-Soleil ….. Charlie Morton.

Adapted and directed for Radio 3 by David Timson.
Produced by Nicolas Soames.

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