Two centuries after its premiere – and now universally accepted as the composer’s comic masterpiece – Rossini’s prequel to The Marriage of Figaro,The Barber of Seville, remains as tuneful, ironic and uproariously funny as ever.
Set in an elegant comic-opera vision of 18th-century Seville, Jonathan Miller’s Tiepolo-inspired staging brilliantly intercuts the traditions of the Italian commedia dell’arte and the Whitehall farce to create what, at its last revival, one reviewer called ‘an evening of unalloyed pleasure, insight and subtlety of characterisation’. The talented flautist-turned-conductor Jaime Martin, here
making his operatic debut, brings an authentic Hispanic touch to bear on this 25th anniversary revival.
Bronze-voiced baritone Benedict Nelson, star of the 2011/12 season, Billy Budd, is Figaro; charismatic young lyric soprano Lucy Crowe returns as the feisty Rosina, following sensational debut appearances in 2007’s Agrippina and The Coronation of Poppea, and Andrew Shore, ENO’s Olivier Award-nominated buffo baritone, reprises his ‘classic portrayal’ (The Guardian) of Doctor Bartolo, the poor girl’s pompous old fool of a guardian.