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Rossini - Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) / Dario Fo, Zedda, Larmore, Croft, Netherlands Opera

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4.0 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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(Oct 26, 1999)
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Editorial Reviews

Product description

For his first opera production, Dario Fo, the theater director known for his brilliant wit, chose to stage Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia for the Netherlands Opera. First mounted in 1987, it was a huge success, and a live recording of its revival in May 1992, the 200th anniversary of Rossini's birth, has been made. 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

Amazon.com

In an audio recording, the distinctive quality of this Netherlands Opera production would go unnoticed, and a lot of people might like it better without pictures. The singing is first-class, with a pert, smart, visually appealing Rosina (Jennifer Larmore), a Count Almaviva who can spin out bel canto melodies and also do a good drunk scene (Richard Croft), a Figaro with lots of personality (David Malis). And conductor Alberto Zedda is an expert in the music of Rossini. But video brings out the fact that, for better or for worse, this Barber of Seville differs radically from other treatments of Rossini's comic masterpiece.

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

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Special features

None.

Product details

  • Actors: Richard Croft, Renato Capecchi, Jennifer Larmore, David Malis, Simone Alaimo
  • Directors: Hans Hulscher
  • Writers: Alberto Zedda, Beaumarchais, Cesare Sterbini
  • Format: Classical, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Italian (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 26, 1999
  • Run Time: 153 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00001O2G9
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,329 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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  • Learn more about "Rossini - Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) / Dario Fo, Zedda, Larmore, Croft, Netherlands Opera" on IMDb

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