What is the greatest opera of all time? Everyone has his or her own opinions but a recent poll of 172 of the world’s greatest singers has yielded a consensus – Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro.”
The poll included such stars as tenor/baritone Plácido Domingo, sopranos Kiri Te Kanawa and Renée Fleming and bass-baritone Bryn Terfel, among others, and was conducted by BBC Music Magazine.
“’The Marriage of Figaro’ is such a human portrait’ said Fleming, who sang the role of the Countess Almaviva. “No matter how many times I sing this opera I am always completely stunned how little people have changed since Mozart’s time, in terms of relationships and the maneuvering they do.”
Soprano Dame Felicity Lott was ecstatic about the opera’s “sublime and well-drawn characters,” while bass-baritone Gerald Finley noted the opera was “a singer’s rite of passage.”
Other operas in the top 20 include “Don Giovanni,” “La Bohème,” and “Tosca.” “Peter Grimes” was fifth and “Wozzeck” was fourth.
“Le Nozze di Figaro” had its world premiere on May 1, 1786, and was the first of three collaborations between Mozart and librettist Lorenzo da Ponte.