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Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville)/ Bartoli, G. Quilico, Kuebler, Feller, R. Lloyd; Ferro/Schwetzingen Festival

4.4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Rossini was 24 years old when in 1816 he wrote his seventeenth opera and most renowned "buffa", The Barber of Seville, in barely three weeks. The accompanying recording is from the 1988 Schwetzinger Festspiele. The production by Michael Hampe, director of the Cologne Opera at that time, is distinguished by humorous direction of movement which never degenerated into slapstick. It aimed for a high tempo and abandoned the alienation effect to allow for an increasing exuberance in performance by the protagonists. Ezio Frigerios’s stage settings are equally as appealing to the eye as Mauro Pagano’s costumes, whose design consciously strengthens the comic impact of the characters. Resounding from the orchestra pit is an exceptionally defined, coherent and graceful performance of Rossini’s composition. Gabriele Ferro appreciates how to effect subtle differentiations and in so doing strikes an ideal balance between the orchestra and the stage. The choir ensemble is first class, led by an irresistible Cecilia Bartoli.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Cecilia Bartoli, Carlos Feller, David Kuebler, Gino Quilco, Robert Lloyd
  • Directors: Michael Hampe, Claus Viller
  • Format: Classical, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Alliance
  • DVD Release Date: July 15, 2003
  • Run Time: 157 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00009MGK3
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,125 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 17, 2003
Format: DVD
This DVD preserves the justly famous production of Rossini's 'The Barber of Seville' done in the jewel-box theater of the Schwetzingen Festival in 1988. It features the adorable Rosina of Cecilia Bartoli at the beginning of her soon-to-be-huge international career. It is conducted sympathetically by the Sicilian Gabriele Ferro; he leads the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Stuttgart and the chorus of the Cologne City Opera.
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.
Scott Morrison
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Format: DVD
I hate to sound arrogant myself by saying this, but I think you should ignore the arrogant comments of the previous reviewer. If this production is "pretty disappointing," then I'm Kirsten Flagstad. The previous reviewer's comments are a perfect illustration of why opera fans have the reputation of being the most staid, humorless fault-finders around: for being almost impossible to please. I agree that one can always quibble about a few things in any production. In this case, yes, Carlos Feller's performance is not flawless: his enunciation does slip a bit in "A un dottor." But he makes the number so enjoyable overall, overall he is so terrifically pompous and irascible, and he sings with such gusto (for an old man, I think his voice is deep and strong, hardly "hollow") that to call him the "horror" of the whole production is, in my opinion, puzzlingly spiteful. And the same goes for any major criticism of the rest of the cast.

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.
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Format: DVD
'The Barber of Seville' - fast, fun, and, at times, frenetic, is well deserving of its title as the greatest opera buffa ever composed. When I was searching for a DVD of my favorite opera, there were quite a few choices available; this was the one I picked, despite being familiar with only one of the performers, Bartoli. I wasn't disappointed. This is a great `Barber,' that captures the energy and humor of both the story and score. When it comes to the `Barber,' I prefer a traditional staging, rather than a modernized, contemporary, conceptual, or experimental avant-garde one. This is a traditional production and proves the adage of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

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.
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