At this moment of horticultural crisis for Antonio, the plot of Mozart’s opera Le Nozze di Figaro has reached a peak of confusion: the love-stricken page Cherubino has managed to escape being discovered in the Countess’s rooms by the Count by jumping from the balcony into the garden below, and the Count has been tricked into believing that it was the Countess’s maid Susanna who had been hiding in the locked cupboard, and not Cherubino, as he suspected. But Figaro turns up and, not knowing what has happened, chatters on and unwittingly arouses the Count’s suspicions again, and just as the Countess and Susanna think that their trick has failed, in stumbles the estate gardener Antonio, as usual the worse for drink, complaining that he has seen a thousand things thrown down from the balcony, but he has never before seen a man thrown out. The Count is instantly alerted, and then, as proof that he is telling the truth, Antonio produces a pot of flattened carnations.

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