Today I would like to share with you two overtures, one from the opera The Marriage of Figaro, composed in 1786 by Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and the other from the opera The Barber of Seville, composed thirty years later by Italian composer Gioachino Rossini. Both operas are based on plays by French playwright Pierre Beaumarchais, and both feature the clever and very entrepreneurial character Figaro, who happens to be a barber. The Marriage of Figaro was featured in the opening credits of the movie Trading Places, and now when I hear it, I think of pork bellies and orange futures.
Pierre Beaumarchais deserves a special mention as he was a fascinating character in his own right. In addition to being a playwright, he was also a watchmaker, inventor, spy, diplomat, and revolutionist in both French and American revolutions. I stumbled on a book that I cannot wait to read: Improbable Patriot: The Secret History of Monsieur de Beaumarchais, the French Playwright Who Saved the American Revolution.