Giuseppe Naldi as Figaro in Mozart's opera The Marriage of Figaro
This print shows Giuseppe Naldi as Figaro, the role he sang in the first London performance of Mozart’s masterpiece The Marriage of Figaro in 1812. In fact, London was already familiar with parts of the opera as arias and scenes had been incorporated into other productions. ‘Non più andrai’ had been the slow march of the Coldstream Guards since 1787 and the whole opera had already been performed by amateurs about 1810. Naldi was a regular performer in London, singing over 35 different operas over twelve seasons. He was something of a Mozart specialist and besides being London’s first Figaro, was London’s first Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte, Papageno in The Magic Flute and Leporello in Don Giovanni. Opinion was divided about the quality of his voice, but everyone warmed to his sense of humour and his acting ability. He was killed in an accident at the home of the great tenor Manuel García.