Magazine article Musical Opinion

English National Opera's the Barber of Seville

Magazine article Musical Opinion

English National Opera's the Barber of Seville

Article excerpt

Rossini's Barber of Seville returned to ENO after a three year break, its tenth revival in a twenty one year history. From start to end it was hilariously funny, a hoot, a scream, witty, outrageous and downright clever. When ENO gets it right there is no stopping it, and this is one of their gems. The full arsenal was brought to bear with sight gags, funny voices, falling over, and plenty of clever puns and jokes in the translation by Amanda and Anthony Holden. This was opera not as high art form, preserved in aspic, this was pure entertainment, and amen to that.

I missed the first night, catching up instead on 8 October, towards the end of its seven night run. Originally directed by Jonathan Miller, this was a revival by Ian Rutherford.

The settings was authentic looking as though it could be indeed seventeenth century Seville: the first scene was outside Rosina's house with the rest inside which was a drawing room gone slightly to seed, again beautifully realised. Costumes were gorgeous with exaggerated colours with large crinolines and bows.

The singers, without exception were just right. Garry Magee as the barber was comic impudence mixed with know-it-all bravado. As he got into the swing of it, his baritone and acting cranked up, and we could see how much he was enjoying it himself. Largo al factotum sounded just as good in English and was surely as fiendishly difficult to sing, which he did without mishap, indeed very well. Anna Gervelius in her first Rosina was likewise having a ball. …

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