William D Howarth sets Le Mariage de Figaro and Beaumarchais's other dramatic works in the broad historical context of pre-revolutionary France, providing a unique and authoritative study of the dramatist and his plays. He presents detailed analyses of the plays themselves, discussing their critical receptions, their influence on drama of the period and their legacy. Included is a discussion of the operatic adaptations: Mozart's Mariage de Figaro and Rossini's Le Barbier de Seville. The author also provides analyses of sketches and fragments only recently re-discovered.
Beaumarchais and the Theatre is a comprehensive and much needed study of one of the most significant playwrights of the turbulent eighteenth century. It is invaluable reading for students of theatre history.
' ... the book effectively demonstrates how the plays weaknesses, are rooted in both the unique personality of their author and the wider social and theatrical environment. Beaumarchais thus emerges as an important nexus, making this study of his theatre, in fact an anatomy of Revolutionary French theatre.' - Theatre Research International, Vol 23. No. 1.