LibriVox recording of The Follies of a Day; OR, The Marriage of Figaro (English) by Pierre Beaumarchais. (Translated by Thomas Holcroft.)
Read in English by LibriVox Volunteers
This is Thomas Holcroft's English translation, obtained by attending Pierre Beaumarchais' French play nine times in Paris during its original official staging in 1784. Beaumarchais' play was the basis for Mozart's 1796 opera, and is a satire about lovers' misdoings and French society. Because of its rebellious themes, presented during the troubling times leading up to the French Revolution, Beaumarchais had a very difficult time getting his play past the censors. Once staged, the play was enormously popular with audiences, including the aristocracy despite their understanding of the underlying themes. It was shocking that an commoner could contend directly with a nobleman. Louis XVI was not amused with Beaumarchais and imprisoned him for a few days.
In our play, staged in London in 1785, Figaro is engaged to be married to Susan, who has caught the eye of Count Almaviva . . . (Holcroft Anglicized Suzanne's name so that English audiences would better accept her.) The Marriage is part of a trilogy, following The Barber of Seville and preceding The Guilty Mother. (Summary by Lynette Caulkins.)