The Royal Opera
13 September—11 October 2016
Henrik Nánási conducts a cast including Javier Camarena, Daniela Mack and Vito Priante in this revival of The Royal Opera’s sparkling production of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville.
Count Almaviva arrives in Seville to search for the mysterious woman he met in Madrid. When he learns that she is Rosina, due to be married to her tyrannical guardian Bartolo, he enlists the help of the cunning barber Figaro to win her hand.
Almaviva and Rosina fall in love, and Rosina turns her mind to duping Bartolo. The combined conniving of all three is too much for Bartolo, who has to admit defeat when he discovers Almaviva and Rosina have married right under his nose.
The 23-year-old Gioachino Rossini completed his masterpiece Il barbiere di Siviglia with incredible speed – legend has it in just 13 days – which Rossini attributed to ‘facility and lots of instinct’. He adapted Pierre-Augustin Beaumarchais’ play Le Barbier de Séville, part of a dramatic trilogy that also inspired Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. Within a few decades of its 1816 premiere, Il barbiere di Siviglia had been seen around the world, reaching opera houses in New York, Buenos Aires, Trinidad and Ecuador. The opera is characterized by youthful energy and bold wit: these qualities are brought to the fore in Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s colourful and inventive production, a popular favourite at the Royal Opera House since its premiere in 2005.
Il barbiere di Siviglia has all the right ingredients for comic chaos: an imprisoned young woman, her lecherous guardian and a young noble suitor. Skilfully plotting behind the scenes is Figaro – an irrepressible and inventive character in whom many have seen a resemblance to the young Rossini himself. The score fizzes with musical brilliance, from Figaro’s famous entrance aria ‘Largo al factotum’ to the frenzy of the Act I finale, when the five principal voices all pile on top of each other.