Mozart's Marriage of Figaro and 18th-Century Diplomatic Culture: A Lecture by David Armitage

On Thursday, October 26, at 4:15 pm in Griffin 3, Professor David Armitage, Blankfein Professor of History at Harvard University will be doing a lecture entitled Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro and 18th-Century Diplomatic Culture. This lecture approaches opera, more specifically Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro (1786), from an unusual angle: the history of early modern diplomacy and international law. Early in the drama, we learn that the king of Spain has tapped Count Almaviva, the villain of the piece, to be his ambassador to London: this revelation provides a key to understanding legal pluralism, sexual libertinism, and the inversion of power relations in the opera. By examining the overlap between the worlds of music and diplomacy in and around the Marriage of Figaro, Professor Armitage shows how opera became a significant vehicle for representing and judging international relations and international law from Mozart’s time to our own.