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Le nozze di Figaro (1786) was Mozart's first mature opera buffa. It was also the first of his three major collaborations with the librettist Lorenzo da Ponte. Unlike Don Giovanni (1787) and Cos fan tutte (1790), Figaro has few obvious problems, and even if it is not without flaws, it nevertheless contains a remarkable mixture of all those elements that go to produce a good opera: a sound plot, a well-structured text and fine music. This opera handbook examines the work from historical and musical perspectives, to set it in the context of Mozart's age.