Sunday, September 23

Il Barbiere Di Siviglia

- October 9, 2017

Rossini’s crazily silly love story needs two very important things to make it work. Firstly it needs a cast of brilliant singers who can cope with the incredibly difficult score packed with demanding solos and ensemble works and with many paced at breakneck speed that requires a level of vocal precision and diction that is at times breathtaking. Every member of this company delivered these factors, individually throughout and in ensemble almost, although there were a few moments when things went a little, forgivably, astray in terms of timing. Secondly there needs to be real comedy, any attempt to take this delightful confection too seriously is bound to be doomed. From the minute the curtain drew back revealing the prettiest of settings, there was no doubt that we were going to be given a comedy. Jack Swanson was full of swagger, a handsome count with a twinkling voice and smile. Tobias Greenhalgh’s Figaro burst onto the stage with a cheeky charm and winning smile, and then gave the most exquisitely sung performance both precise and colourful. Marco Fillipo Romano’s Dr Bartolo was delightfully pompous and again sung with such clarity and precision and Janis Kelly brought great humour to her rendering of Berta. Anatoli Sivko brought wonderful humour to the role of Basilio, at moments as if he were channeling the late Rik Mayall’s comedic genius. Laura Verrecchia’s Rosina was startling, a huge voice, clear, precise and expressive, never once forgetting that opera requires as much dramatic skill as vocal talent. She was wilful, feisty and a pure delight in the role.

Glyndebourne never seem to forget that the singing must always be matched by the acting if the full drama of an opera is to be achieved and here the entire creative team have done just that, thrilling music and great comedy coming together in almost perfect unity. At times however, for those of us not fluent in Italian, the supertitles were sparse in content and occasionally out of sync – unusual at this great opera house.

8 October


Andrew Kay

Rating: ★★★★½

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