Sometimes revivals of a production are better than the originals, and Welsh National Opera have taken stock of their current Marriage of Figaro and removed what irritated first time round in director Neil Armfield's conception.
Count Almaviva now seems much less boorish than before, much of his natural aristocratic bearing restored (though still with a pampered young man's impetuousness), and William Dazeley here makes him quite a sympathetic figure. Opposite him is the frustrated and disillusioned Countess of the compelling Elizabeth Atherton, her body-language yearning, her "Dove Sono" aria beautifully placed.
Around their personal tragedy of passionate love turned prematurely sour revolve several other relationships in this great comedy. Figaro is honest and doughty in Matthew Rose's good-bloke portrayal, his Susanna, Ailish Tynan, spirited and feisty.
Arlene Rolph's Cherubino is a disturbingly androgynous joy, not least when this female singer taking on a breeches part then pretends to be a young girl. And a real surprise is the sexy, still young and attractive Marcellina of Ros Evans, whose Act IV feminist aria is almost Cecilia Bartoli-like in its delivery.
With the production excesses now discarded, there are subtle delights to relish: the ironing-board, hair-dryer, coffee-urn and wheelchair making their points amid the brown paper of much of Dale Ferguson's design (and the authentically fantastic perspective of his Act III salon).
The cosy theatrical lighting, faces uplit when characters address the audience front of stage. The wonderful moment when the Countess, succumbing to Cherubino's singing, almost drops the music guitar-playing Susanna is desperately following.
After a lukewarm start conductor Michal Klauza creates musical structures of great tension and release, the versatile WNO Orchestra at home as much with Mozart as they are with Wagner.
* Repeated tomorrow (7pm). Running time: Three hours, 20 minutes.