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The Barber of Seville from the Met Opera Season on Film - Review

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by John Andrew (subscribe)
I enjoy "fine dining", presenting programs on radios 4MBS, MBS Light and 4RPH and going to drama and music at Brisbane theatres.
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It doesn't get better than this
Barber of Seville

In The Metropolitan Opera's current revival of Gioacchino Rossini's "Il barbiere di Siviglia" ("The Barber of Seville") Figaro, the eponymous Barber of Seville, knows how to make an entrance. He is clearly more of a personage than a person, as his opening aria "Largo al factotum," proclaims.

Figaro is recruited by the ardent Count Almaviva to help win the highly eligible Rosina. Problem is, Dr Bartolo (a baritone of a certain age) has her under lock and key, and wishes to acquire both the fair maiden and her dowry. Christopher Maltman is a fine Figaro, bestriding the stage with overweening confidence. Lawrence Brownlee is clearly a Rossini tenor, executing brilliant coloratura runs, with apparently effortless soaring high notes. He manages to be appropriately light-hearted, ardent and tender.

Rosina is no wilting violet and Isobel Leonard manages to be beautiful, charming, feisty, intelligent and expressive, while using her mellow mezzo-soprano to the full.

Maurizio Muraro's Bartolo could easily have been over-played he is given the role of a pompous clown, destined for failure. He is particularly good in the patter songs.

Bob Besserer almost steals the show in a non-singing, non speaking part, as Ambrogio, Bartolo's narcoleptic servant.

An unusual feature of the staging is the passerelle, a u-shaped extension of the stage over the orchestra pit, which brings the singers even closer to the audience.

This production has found actors who can sing, and singers who can act.

Bartlett Sher, the director, uses these talents to combine comic artistry with verbal pyrotechnics, resulting in a joyous and delightful performance.
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Why? Brilliant, engaging, timeless
When: 1st - 5th February
Where: Dendy Portside
Cost: $25
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