Opera / “The Barber of Seville”, Opera Australia. At Canberra Theatre, September 15. Reviewed by IAN McLEAN.
A GAGGLE of audaciously overgrown pink beards and moustaches lit up the stage because the glowing overture to the Opera Australia touring manufacturing of “The Barber of Seville” galloped in direction of its conclusion and there was no thought aside from – “hmmm, that is going to be plenty of enjoyable!”
And it was. Sustaining the pink theme a candy-coloured ice cream cart-like moveable barber store appeared and the preferred of all opera comedies was underway.
Italian composer Rossini seemingly wrote “The Barber” in simply 13 days. The necessity for velocity pressured him to borrow a tune or two from his earlier works and, included within the rating, there are even hints of a trio from Haydn’s “The Seasons” and a Russian melody he’d heard in Rome. The unique overture disappeared; the present model was initially composed for “Aureliano”, one other of his operas. What a stroke of excellent fortune.
The overture is amongst the perfect recognized works of sunshine classical music, immortalised ceaselessly in Looney Tunes cartoons, notably the 1950 “The Rabbit of Seville”, starring Elma Fudd and Bugs Bunny.
The difficult (and maybe looney itself) story revolves round Rely Almaviva who falls in love with Rosina – a gorgeous proprietor of, on this model, a vineyard, the Sevilised Libations.
Nonetheless, she just isn’t a free girl for, after the dying of her dad and mom, she turned the ward of the cranky Dr Bartolo. He plans to marry her to get his palms on her inherited fortune so the depend enlists the tough Figaro, the master-of-disguise barber, to prise Rosina from Bartolo’s grasping clutches. In fact mistaken identities, extra moustaches and common mayhem observe as the trail to real love as all the time proves to be something however straight.
This is a superb manufacturing in all respects. The Michael Scott-Mitchell set is intelligent, multi-functional and fully adaptable for the rigours of a touring present whereas Sabina Myers’ costumes are vibrant, “excessive” and absolutely aligned and complementary to the general manufacturing design.
Lighting by Morgan Moroney captures the mayhem temper notably nicely; a rain scene is amazingly intelligent and efficient.
Director Priscilla Jackman has set the story in an Australian city truly referred to as Seville, within the Victorian Yarra Valley wine area the place she has efficiently mixed a up to date Australian world of headline-making pop stars with the playfulness and showmanship demanded of Rossini’s music. The result’s joyous.
Luke Spicer guides the interval orchestra by means of the complicated and demanding rating with readability and precision and what a delight to listen to Canberra’s personal Eliza Shephard within the pit mastering the fiendishly difficult flute half.
On stage Ester Music was a pleasant Rosina, her well-known “Una voce poco fa” aria nicely demonstrating her vocal versatility. The stunning tenor voice of Nicholas Jones soared as he matched wonderful performing expertise with vocal skill as Almaviva while bass Andrew Moran was pleasant in each booming bass voice and characterisation because the grasping Dr Bartolo.
Haotian Qi lacked some vocal projection however introduced a high quality comedian contact because the crafty Figaro whereas Shane Lowrencev, because the scandalmonger music instructor Don Basilio, virtually stole the present together with his number of John Cleese-like foolish walks and his interruption of Rossini to burst right into a bar or two of “Lily the Pink”!
The supporting solid was robust and environment friendly of their twin stage hand and performer roles and, as is lengthy standing Opera Australia follow, it was pleasing to see a neighborhood kids’s choir, on this occasion the Woden Valley Youth Choir, out of formal live performance gown and into costume, and with compulsory moustaches, to carry out the youngsters’s elements.
This manufacturing has been touring repeatedly since July however the freshness, enthusiasm and apparent enjoyment amongst the corporate was infectious. “The Barber” is certainly a riotous romp and a enjoyable evening of elegant leisure.
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Ian Meikle, editor