The Genesis of Mozart's "Le nozze di Figaro"


ACLS Fellowship Program


Music History


This study of Mozart’s autograph score of "Le nozze di Figaro" and the discovery of the orchestral parts from its original production show that the opera was frequently and substantially revised in hitherto unknown ways during the period of composition, rehearsal, first performances, and early revivals. Building on these discoveries, this project offers a new history of the opera’s genesis, placing it within the cultural and institutional contexts in which it was created, staged, and received, framing this history within broader issues: the concepts of "text" and "work" as they apply to the intrinsically fluid and collaborative genre of opera; the implications of this fluidity for editorial theory and textual criticism; and the problematic notion of a historical "event" and its reconstruction.