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Heavenly 'Figaro'; classy Judy; comic Cleo; dangerous 'Fool'

By Christopher Swan, Compiled and edited by Catherine Foster / February 9, 1984



OK, so Sanford Sylvan didn't have the vocal body to play Figaro, that most revolutionary of all operatic characters. Beverly Morgan was not in particularly good voice. And the orchestra, under James Bolle, sounded flat and wispy at times.

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Now, I've done my duty as a nit-picking critic. Let me relax and tell you that last Sunday night the Monadnock Music Festival brought its sparkling, careful, touching production of Mozart's ''Le Nozze di Figaro'' in concert-opera form to Jordan Hall. All I can do is rhapsodize.

The production it did last summer in the Peterborough Town House resonated through the New Hampshire woods into the heart of Boston. So when it was announced that the same cast, and almost the same orchestra, would be pitching their tent here in Boston, the word went out quickly. The place was all but sold out (at high prices) to people who knew why they were coming.

This was Mozart, in all his musical-dramatic genius, without the window dressing of sets and costumes. It was Mozart's and librettist DaPonte's humor made really funny. It was Suzanna (Jeanne Ommerle), all yielding, crafty, and warmly touching. It was Marcellina (Bethany Beardslee) done with broad gags and splendid vocal technique. It was a Cherubino (D'Anna Fortunato) who ran away with the performance in trousers and in a golden voice with a silver lining.

But mostly, it was that music Mozart composed. Where did it all come from? The 19th-century romantics were convinced it came straight from heaven. And when you listen to an inspired production of ''Figaro'' like this one, it's hard to argue with them.