Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville)/ Bartoli, G. Quilico, Kuebler, Feller, R. Lloyd; Ferro/Schwetzingen Festival
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Top Customer Reviews
The staging by Michael Hampe, sets by Ezio Frigerio and costumes by Mauro Pagano are traditional and do not get in the way of a straightforward presentation of Rossini's still-funny farce.
David Kuebler's Almaviva is beautifully sung and his comic acting as the drunken soldier in Act I and as the false Don Alonso in Act II is expertly done. The lecherous but clueless Don Bartolo is sung and acted by the veteran Carlos Feller. His downfall in the finale is done with grace and good humor, unlike some Bartolos who huff and puff rather too much about it all. Don Basilio is taken by the wonderful Robert Lloyd whose cavernous black bass is perfect for 'La Calunnia' which is both sinister and funny. He has a comic bit that he does with making the sign of the cross that has the audience in stitches.
Gino Quilico deserves especial praise for his scheming charmer, the barber Figaro. Not only is his singing wonderful, his comic acting is spot on. I laughed out loud several times--as when he is shaving Don Bartolo in the second act.
This production follows hard on the heels of the wonderful Arthaus/Naxos DVD of the 1990 Schwetzingen production of Britten's 'The Turn of the Screw.' If these two productions are any indication of the level of artistry at Schwetzingen, one can certainly hope that we'll be getting more of these productions on DVD.
In fact, I think this is one of the better casts I've seen in this opera. David Kuebler is a hilarious and wildly determined Count (his turn as the drunken soldier looking for lodgings is a riot); I don't see how anyone in their right mind could consider him a "dull, stern presence" and "charmless." True, it's fair to say that Bartoli has gone on to do even better work than she does here, but, after all, this "Barber" was filmed in 1988, early in her career, and one can at least see why her career took off after this. Her Rosina is spirited and absolutely irresistible, her voice is beautiful, and her big coloratura number ("Una voce poco fa") pretty spectacular. Gino Quilco is a great Figaro, very funny, sharp, and energetic, with an excellent rendition of "Largo al factotum." Also deserving praise is Robert Lloyd's wryly sinister Don Basilio.Read more ›
The costumes, although neutral, (greys, black, and beige), are perfect; especially Figaro's "Spanish dandy" attire, complete with snood, as described in the original Beaumarchais play notes. Kudos to referencing the original source material. It almost seems as if the neutral tones of the costumes and sets was a deliberate decision, in order to allow the performers and music to provide the real color, which is abundant and full of infectious verve.
There is a lot of movement in this production, which compliments the score, and the cast is nimble, making extensive use of numerous props, but without any of the actions feeling forced or unnatural, nor distracting attention away from the vocals, which are excellent. A perfect example is when Figaro, while chatting with Rosina, warms a `curling iron' over the flame of a candle, prior to dressing her hair.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am delighted to have this disc in my collection. Bartoli is fantastic, the Count is rather stiff but all in all a very good production. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Boston Jack
The music and action is superb. I got this on Netflix and enjoyed it so much I bought it. Ceclia Bartoli is wonderful as are the rest of the cast. Read morePublished on January 15, 2014 by James S. Webb
If you already like "Barber" you'll almost certainly love this one .. Bartolli is tremendous, which is why I ordered it in spite of not much caring for "Barber". Read morePublished on August 5, 2012 by Marianna
The DVD stopped playing before the end of the first act. The subtitles stopped showing on the TV screen before the DVD stopped. Read morePublished on June 14, 2012 by 1234
This Barbiere is one of the best productions ever done. There are no big names, except for Cecilia, but everybody sings and acts beautiful. Read morePublished on February 9, 2011 by carminaburana
Quite a performance. Most of all, for the luxury of bel canto from Cecilia Bartoli and Gino Quilico's splendid Figaro. Read morePublished on August 27, 2010 by Pythencanthropus
This 1989 production of the Barber of Seville from the Schwetzingen Festival in Germany is a gem. Terrific cast, fine conductor and great director. Read morePublished on November 30, 2009 by David L. Rosenbloom
This film of a live production (which I generally prefer) captures the humor and tension of the work well. The performance, singers and orchestra a generally quite good. Read morePublished on June 29, 2009 by Jim in Cheyenne
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