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Studies in Music with Text$
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David Lewin

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195182088

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182088.001.0001

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Figaro’s Mistakes

Figaro’s Mistakes

(p.5) Chapter One Figaro’s Mistakes
Studies in Music with Text

David Lewin

Oxford University Press

Sigmund Freud, in the second of his Introductory Lectures, catalogues some common forms of erroneous performance, such as misspeaking, misreading, mishearing, and mislaying. This chapter continues those lines of thought, analyzing the opening duet from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. There, the musical aspect of the theater work lends special interest to Figaro's miscounting and mis-singing. Figaro and Susanna, about to marry, are servants in the employ of Count Almaviva, who has been making harassing advances toward Susanna. Figaro does not yet know of these advances, and the bedroom that the Count is providing for the couple lies close to his own quarters. One immediately notices tension and conflict in the opening of the scene. G as tonic key and harmony represents the proper state of affairs. The metaphorical interplay of music and drama is evident here. Figaro's mistakes eventually lead him to reaffirm his commitment to Susanna, thanks to her insightful management of the situation.

Keywords:   Sigmund Freud, Mozart, Marriage of Figaro, Susanna, Figaro, mistakes, miscounting, mis-singing, music, drama

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