Front Page Titles (by Subject) ARGUMENT. - Mozart's Opera Marriage of Figaro, containing the Italian text, with an English translation, and the Music of all of the Principal Airs
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ARGUMENT. - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Mozart’s Opera Marriage of Figaro, containing the Italian text, with an English translation, and the Music of all of the Principal Airs 
Mozart’s Opera Marriage of Figaro, containing the Italian text, with an English translation, and the Music of all of the Principal Airs (Boston: Oliver Ditson Co., 1888).
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Count Almaviva, the well-known hero of Rossini’s Barber of Seville, after the romantic marriage with Rosina, the ward of Doctor Bartolo, of which that Opera treats, had settled down quietly upon his estates. Figaro, the barber, had been awarded the post of major domo of the castle by the Count, in payment for past services. Figaro, while in his new station, had conceived a passion for Susanna, the pretty and cunning waiting-woman of the Countess, and they were shortly to be married. Unfortunately for the gay ex-barber, he had, while in a state of less prosperity, given a written promise to an old, but rich spinster, Marcellina, to marry her on a certain day, upon which promise he had been furnished with various snug sums by the would be Mrs. Figaro. When fortune smiled upon him, however, he forgot his old attachment entirely, and, by an ill choice, fixed the date of his union with Susanna on the same day, on which he was to have married Marcellina. This venerable dame, with the assistance of Doctor Bartolo, who owed Figaro an old grudge on account of his ward Rosina, who had been snatched from him principally through the instrumentality of the barber, made secret preparations to interrupt the nuptial festivities with a tremendous thunder shower.
The Count Almaviva, since he enjoyed the quiet possession of his most excellent wife, began to bestow more attentions on the female portion of his household, particularly on Susanna, than were absolutely necessary, evincing at the same time an unreasonably jealous disposition towards the Countess. The Count had in his service a lad, by the name of Cherubino, a young scapegrace, passionately fond of the other sex, always in love, in truth, a Don Giovanni in embryo. This Cherubino was, when our story opens, under orders to leave for the army immediately, in punishment for a misdemeanor, which he had been guilty of.
Figaro, who was extremely annoyed by his master’s behavior towards Susanna, and truly sorry for his groundless jealousy towards the Countess, bethought himself of a plan to bring the Count back into the bounds of propriety. In the first place he sent a letter to the Count, informing him that the Countess had made an appointment to meet somebody at the evening’s ball. Arousing thus the Count’s suspicion, and disturbing his peace of mind, Figaro calculated better to prepare him for the snare which was to be laid. Susanna was to get a message to the Count that she would meet him in the garden, that night. Cherubino, kept back in the castle against the Count’s orders, was to act Susanna’s part, and the Countess to surprise the frail husband with the supposed Susanna.
In order to effect the necessary transformation for his new character, Cherubino was admitted to the room of the Countess, where Susanna, under the Superintendence of the Countess, began to make the change of wardrobe necessary. While this was going on, and Susanna had just stepped out into her room—to the left—to take away the page’s coat and fetch him one of her dresses, the Count tried to gain access by the principal—middle—entrance, and finding this locked—an occurrence against all precedents—he began to knock vehemently. Cherubino quickly fled into the chamber of the Countess—to the right—and the Countess opened the door. The Count, who had just received Figaro’s anonymous letter, could not help noticing the confusion of the Countess. He had heard voices in the room, when he approached it. The Countess protested she had been talking to herself. The Count showed her Figaro’s letter. Here unfortunately Cherubino in the adjoining chamber upset a chair. Up started the Count, demanding who was in there. Nobody but Susanna, insisted the Countess. The Count called to Susanna to come out; his wife commanded her to stay in. But Susanna was listening from the door opposite to these strange proceedings, and, of course, came not, nor the frightened page. At last the Count went out, to get a crowbar, with which to open the door of the cabinet, the Countess accompanying him. He securely fastened the middle door after their exit.
Now Susanna quickly released the page, got him his coat, made him jump out of the window which opened upon the garden, and then went herself into the chamber just quitted by Cherubino. When the Count and Countess returned, and the Count had wrung from his wife the confession that the page was there, half undressed, the sudden appearance of Susanna in the door of the apartment took both completely by surprise. But the Countess quickly gained her composure, and the two women now turned the tables upon the Count, who ruefully asked his wife’s forgiveness for his unjust suspicions. The Countess granted it in good grace. Figaro came in, to accompany Susanna to the wedding. A little while after him, as his unlucky stars would have it, Antonio, the gardener, half intoxicated, carrying a couple of broken flower-pots, made his appearance in the room. He insisted he must see his master. He wanted to lodge a complaint against some one who had jumped out of the window from the Countess’ room, broken some of his flower-pots, and escaped through the garden. Figaro with great difficulty quieted the Count’s newly arisen suspicions, by avowing himself the culprit. At this moment Marcellina, duly accompanied by her counsel, appeared and lodged a complaint with the Count against Figaro for breach of promise. Almaviva, inwardly rejoicing at the turn affairs took, and thinking to profit by it, evinced great interest in the case. When it came to the trial, however, it was discovered that Figaro was the child of Marcellina and Doctor Bartolo, by which timely discovery every obstacle to Figaro’s and Susanna’s union was removed.
Accordingly the festivals took then course. In the meanwhile Susanna, upon the advice of the Countess, and without the knowledge of her betrothed, carried on the intrigue originally plotted by Figaro. She sought an interview with the Count, and expressed her willingness to conform to his wishes. Afterwards she wrote a note to him—dictated by the Countess—appointing time and place of a meeting. Of this appointment Figaro—through the simplicity of a peasant girl, entrusted with the Count’s answer to Susanna—got wind, and forthwith collected a number of stout villagers, who were to administer to the Count a sound cudgeling under cover of the darkness.
When evening came round, the two ladies—the Countess dressed as Susanna, and Susanna as the Countess—repaired to the spot appointed in the letter, a secluded part of the park with a pavilion on either side. Figaro lay already in waiting, of which the ladies were well aware. Susanna then withdrew into the shade of the thicket, leaving her mistress alone waiting for the Count. Suddenly Cherubino came in, who, it seems, had made an appointment with Barbarina, the gardener’s daughter, on the same spot. Mistaking the Countess for Susanna, he dallied with her, kissing her much against her will, till at last the Count interfered, when the boy ran into the pavilion to the left, where Barbarina was already waiting for him. The Countess now received graciously the passionate words of her husband, intended for Susanna. Figaro, who was duped as much as the Count, then made a noise, and the Count sent the supposed Susanna into the pavilion on the right, expecting to join her ere long. Susanna managed to meet Figaro. But the cunning barber soon looked through her disguise, and then took an active part in the joke, by addressing her as the Countess, in passionate language. This was well done; for the Count overheard him, and seized him by the collar. Susanna ran into the pavilion on the left. The Count then, without releasing his hold on Figaro, called his servants and guests, who came in large numbers with lights and torches, and bade them to be witnesses of his dishonor. After disposing of Cherubino and Barbarina, who were also in the left hand pavilion, he dragged out the supposed Countess, who fell down on her knees before him, imploring his forgiveness. But the Count acted the enraged husband in good earnest. Suddenly the real Countess appeared from the pavilion on the right. Before the Count could fully realize his awkward position, the Countess, with the assistance of Susanna and Figaro, hushed matters up, and hurried the witnesses of this most extraordinary denouement off to the festivities in honor of Figaro’s marriage, which were going on in the castle. The Count must be supposed to be forever healed from his jealousy, and become more faithfully attached than ever before to his Rosina.