Audience members were greeted by a familiar sight as they took their seats Saturday night for the first performance of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro in The Santa Fe Opera’s new season: a stage studded with blooming stems — phlox, perhaps — that represent the garden in which the work’s machinations would conclude four acts later. This is indeed the same production the company offered in 2008, when it was created by director Jonathan Kent, but for its revival it has been subtly transformed and improved by Bruce Donnell, whom the program now credits as its sole director.
It was a good production to begin with, elegantly conceived in 1780s style. Apart from the garden, Paul Brown’s sets include paneled rooms for much of the coming and going and, for the Countess’ boudoir, a room dense with dark-silver rococo filigree. Brown’s period costumes make everyone look like they’ve stepped out of a painting by Greuze, and Duane Schuler’s lighting trains the eye on what might otherwise be overlooked, particularly essential in the nocturnal conclusion.
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