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Susanna


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1 (Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro). Sop. Countess Almaviva's maid, about to marry Figaro, the Count's valet. They will live in rooms near their master and mistress, but Susanna knows the Count wants to seduce her. She plots with the Countess to catch him out in his amorous adventures. Aria: Deh vieni, non tardar (‘Come now, do not delay’); duet (with Countess): Che soave zeffiretto (‘What a gentle little breeze’). Created (1786) by Nancy Storace. Arguments continue as to whether this or Baron Ochs (Der Rosenkavalier) is the longest role in all opera. Certainly there is very little time during the opera when Susanna is not on the stage and it is a long and tiring role. It should not be regarded as a typical soubrette part, as it demands far more from its singer than the average ‘cunning servant‐girl’ to which that term is applied. There have been many delightful Susannas over the years. In this century alone, the list is formidable, including Audrey Mildmay (wife of John Christie of Glyndebourne), Maria Cebotari, Adele Kern, Irmgard Seefried, Alda Noni, Hilde Gueden, Jeanette Sinclair, Rita Streich, Anna Moffo, Graziella Sciutti, Anneliese Rothenberger, Edith Mathis, Mirella Freni, Reri Grist, Ileana Cotrubas, Marie McLaughlin, Sylvia McNair, Alison Hagley, Rebecca Evans, Dorothea Röschmann, and Nuccia Focile.

2 (Wolf‐Ferrari: Il segreto di Susanna). Sop. Countess, wife of Count Gil. He suspects her of having a lover, as he can smell tobacoo on her and in their home. She keeps slipping out of the house by herself, he presumes to meet her admirer. Her secret is that she smokes, and she goes out to buy cigarettes. Gil returns unexpectedly one day while she is relaxing with a cigarette and catches her. Her secret is out. Created (1909) by Frau Tordel.

3 (Corigliano: The Ghosts of Versailles). Sop. Wife for the last twenty years of Figaro, Count Almaviva's valet. She is one of the characters summoned back by their creator, Beaumarchais, to help him rescue Marie Antoinette from her historical fate. Created (1991) by Judith Christin.

Subjects: Opera.


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