Home » Opera and Ballet » Review : Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Royal Opera House – 13th September 2016

Review : Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Royal Opera House – 13th September 2016

Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Royal Opera House on 10.9.16

Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Royal Opera House – Photo (ROH) Mark Douet

The Royal Opera House presents a revival of Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s ever popular production of Il barbiere di Siviglia, a favourite at Covent Garden since its premiere in 2005.

Gioachino Rossini was only 23 when he completed The Barber of Seville and in his prime, it was said he completed the opera in only three weeks. He adapted Pierre-Augustin Beaumarchais’ play Le Barbier de Séville which also inspired Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. The opera premiered at the Teatro Argentina in Rome in 1816, the opening night was considered a disaster, however it soon became a firm favourite in opera houses around the world.

Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Royal Opera House on 10.9.16

Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Royal Opera House – Photo (ROH) Mark Douet

Henrik Nánási conducted the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House into a spirited rendition of the famous overture before the action begins on a stage with a large tree and Dr Bartolo’s house with Fiorello who is accompanied by a band of musicians who pop up from behind the stage. Fiorello has bought the band so his master, Count Almaviva can serenade a mystery lady.

_31b3791-vito-priante-as-figaro-daniela-mack-as-rosina-il-barbiere-di-siviglia-roh-photo-mark-douet

Vito Priante as Figaro, Daniela Mack as Rosina – Photo (ROH) Mark Douet

Things do not go to plan and the Count hides, Figaro makes his ways through the stalls before launching into an exuberant version of ‘Largo al factorum’ . The arrival of the main characters, Rosina an imprisoned young woman, Dr Bartolo her lecherous guardian and the Count as an ardent suitor who uses a series of disguises to get close to his beloved with the help of the resourceful barber provide all the ingredients for ‘ a comedy of errors ‘ which develops at a breakneck speed. Many of the cast are costumed like cartoon characters and this production often reverts to slapstick in a physical and musical sense. The surrealness goes to another level literally when Christian Fenouillat’s boxed set on the stage is raised and hilariously tips the cast from side to side. It is not only the cast who breathless after the madcap first half and Act I finale.

Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Royal Opera House on 10.9.16

Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Royal Opera House – Photo (ROH) Mark Douet

After the interval, the fun continues when the Count disguises himself as ‘Don Alonso’ a young abbé who has come to give Rosina a music lesson. This sets off a series of events that ends with Bartolo outmanoeuvred and the Count and Rosina married.

Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Royal Opera House on 10.9.16

Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Royal Opera House – Photo (ROH) Mark Douet

In all the humour, it is vital for the conductor Henrik Nánási and the orchestra do not to get carried away and provide the correct pace to enable the various often complex songs to be precise. One of the important qualities of comedy and music is timing and this evening’s performance saw many of the cast delivering on many levels.

Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Royal Opera House on 10.9.16

Javier Camarena as Count Almaviva, Daniela Mack as Rosina – Photo (ROH) Mark Douet

Charismatic Mexican tenor Javier Camarena as Count Almaviva played his various roles with strength, assurance and his remarkable vocal range was greatly appreciated by the audience. Daniela Mack excelled as a petulant and passionate Rosina with a high spot, her rendition of “Una voce poco fa”.

Italian baritone Vito Priante provides a swaggering and entertaining Figaro. José Fardilha brings some wonderful comic touches to his role as Dr Bartolo, especially in his scenes with the wonderfully domineering Ferruccio Furlanetto as Don Basilio.

Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Royal Opera House on 10.9.16

Ferruccio Furlanetto as Don Basilio, Jose Fardilha as Doctor Bartolo – Photo (ROH) Mark Douet

This is the fourth revival of the Moshe Leister and Patrice Caurier’s popular production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia which delights and amuses in equal measure. For those people who are sometimes put off by the gloom and doom of many operas, Il Barbiere di Siviglia is the perfect alternative, full of wit and humour both musically and visually. The Covent Garden audience enthusiastically showed their appreciation for the production, this particularly strong cast makes this production one of the year’s operatic treats.

If you would like more information or buy a ticket, visit the Royal Opera House website here

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