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Usually The Barber of Seville is an intimate little comedy with a half-dozen solo roles and a small, all-male chorus. Except for a few ensemble numbers, there are usually only two or three people on stage at any given moment, often conversing in stage whispers. Sometimes, in a plot full of secrets and deceptions, supernumeraries are out of place.
Dario Fo's staging ignores this stylistic tradition. He gives the solo singers a crowd of artfully choreographed silent partners (including acrobats, dancers, and two men rigged to imitate a donkey), who scamper around the stage carrying ladders and sheets, pushing platforms, waving banners, and making sure that there is always something to amuse the eyes as well as the ears. This staging gives a solid visual embodiment to the comic spirit of the words and music, but it wipes out any pretense of dramatic realism. The Barber of Seville does not pretend to be "a slice of life" and many patrons will find that the energy of these added participants is its own justification. But those who treasure traditional staging and the conventions of realism should be ready for a lively but unconventional production. Perhaps they can listen with their eyes closed and enjoy a first-class sound recording. --Joe McLellan
Fo has said that "Rossini is the musician of eating and love. He composes music rich in herbs and aromas, in which you find olives, tomatoes, fish, grapes, roses and rosemary, sheets and tablecloths, dry wine and the laughter of girls." His Barbiere is a joyful carnival. During the overture, he fills the stage with carnival revellers, and immediately the commedia dell'arte origins of opera buffa are restored. Visual theatrics abound, never at the expense of the music, but highlighting it, engaging the eye as well as the ear. Fo addresses the heart more than the intellect, and Rossini's comedy comes up dazzling and vital. The Italian conductor Alberto Zedda is a Rossini specialist par excellence, and his scintillating interpretation of the music (which is performed in his own critical edition), together with his unflagging energy, draws a magnificent display of playing from The Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. The cast includes Richard Croft as Count Almaviva, David Malis as Figaro, Renato Carecchi as Bartolo and the acclaimed Rossini virtuoso Jennifer Larmore as Rosina. Italian with English subtitles, 153 minutes.
Count Almaviva: Richard Croft
Figaro: David Malis
Bartolo: Renato Carecchi
Rosina: Jennifer Larmore
The Netherlands Opera, Alberto Zedda, conductor; Darius Fo, stage director and designer; Hans Hulscher, video director
I am really glad I took a risk and chose this production to show to my elementary school music students. Read morePublished 1 month ago by M. Strong
this is a very fun version of the opera. thoroughly enjoyed it. thanks.Published 2 months ago by vicki
Too much Fo. He should have more faith in the composer. The comical inventiveness overburdens the work which is spontaneous and naturally humorous. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Mrs.Joan Karvelas, (Ioanna Sfekas Karvelas, Dramatic Soprano)
Also supported content is a perfect score
No problem also transport
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In general I don't like performances which add lots of people on stage when the libretto does not call for it. But in this case I am more than willing to make an exception. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Robert Baksa
The received DVD is in a format to be used in another region than Europa. It cannot be played in our DVD player!
I've always wanted to see The Barber of Seville and never got a chance to see it on stage or otherwise. Really enjoyed it along with the music and singing. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Joel Nicholson
Refreshing to hear a mezzo-soprano sing a leading role in an opera! The opera is well-known and charming, with different but clever staging. The singing is very good.Published 23 months ago by Kris Zink