Barber of Seville
Opera by Gioachino Rossini,
directed by David Gately,
May 2 to May 14/98
Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Reviewer: Violetta Lapinsky
And who said Opera was boring and stuffy! If you have never experienced Opera, this season's 'The Barber of Seville' is the perfect choice to introduce any opera novice to this engaging art form.
"The Barber of Seville" is a comical, yes, funny!, opera set in Seville, Spain. Rossini was barely 24 years old when he wrote this opera, and in only 14 days! It is charming and silly, combining the tragedy and delight of love in an entertaining and humourous performance that captures the eye with its brilliant sets, colours, costumes, lights and energized acting, and entices the ear with beautiful and strong operatic voices, and a joyful musical score.
Figaro, played by Nathan Gunn, is enchanting as the lead, his talented baritone powerful and exciting, singing with alacrity the famous aria 'largo al Factotum' and enjoying his role immensely. Rosina, delightfully performed with great coquettish charm and humour by coloratura Soprano Tracy Dahl was enervating and multi-faceted, her colourful vocal range clear and engaging. Rosina's admirer Count Almaviva is sung by terrific tenor John Osborn. Strong and lyrical, full of energy and passion, his performance convinces the audience of his desire for Rosina.
Kevin Glavin is Dr. Bartolo, Rosina's older and possessive guardian. His vigorous bass resounds and delivers to the very back rows, and his clever and gifted performance of a dodgey elder man is wonderful. Don Basilio, the corrupt and animated priest, performed with excellent modulation by strong bass Peter Volpe carried the humour throughout the evening. Berta is played by Mariateresa Magisano, her lovely mezzo-soprano voice strong and colourful. Her engaging performance as a sneezing and romantically mistrusting aging housemaid is a delight to watch.
More antics ensue with the comedic talents of the older and deaf houseman, Ambrogio masterfully played by Greg Carpenter, and who aspires to be romantic with Berta, and the enthusiastic and excellent chorus, well directed by chorus director Leslie Ayuda. Tyrone Paterson delivers a finely conducted orchestra that neither overpowers the audience or the singers and combined with the superb lighting design of Sholem Dolgoy, creative directing by David Gately and assistant Kate Hutchinson, visually exciting costume design by David Walker, fabulous tiered and authentic mediterranean set design by Alfred Siercke and the joint efforts of all crew and cast, this is a must see Opera for everyone!!