Rossini, Il barbiere di Siviglia (Henrik Nánási cond. Orchestra of the Royal Opera House).
This was the opening night the ROH wanted. The audience went out buzzing, rather than dissecting. This offered a profound blending of staging, pit, acting, characters and, perhaps most astonishingly, the vocal characteristics of each principal. The pit was under Henrik Nánási, very successfully. A new baton got a fun, lively score. The production is fun and lively too, with bright colours, geometric shapes, and a pretty effective staging.
I have no criticism to offer of anything in this. All voices fitted their parts perfectly. As Count Almaviva, Javier Camarena was outstanding. The ovation for ‘Cessa di pue resistere’ had me wondering if this was an alternative ending and the thing was finished. It was as close to an encore as I have seen, and I wish we had persevered. Vito Priante was a wonderful Barber, and his ‘Largo’ may not have been as breath-takingly secure as Bürger at Glyndebourne, but it felt so very real, as he strutted through the auditorium, along the front row and across the pit. Rosina had attitude (Daniela Mack), and her uncle, Doctor Bartolo, José Fardilha, had hair which looked like Trump’s and the charm to match. Don Basilio (Ferruccio Furlanetto) is one of my various parts, and this guy was hysterical. Fiorello (Gyula Nagy) was very strong indeed. Berta (Madeleine Pierard), made much of the one big number she had. The chorus as police men and musicians were very funny.
Vito Priante as Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, The Royal Opera © 2016 ROH. Photograph by Mark Douet
Overall this was such a special performance. Hottest ever day in September. London was baking. The Barber sizzled as if we were in Seville.
Cast and credits
Music - Gioachino Rossini
Libretto - Cesare Sterbini
Directors - Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier
Set designer - Christian Fenouillat
Costume designer - Agostino Cavalca
Lighting designer - Christophe Forey
Conductor - Henrik Nánási
Count Almaviva - Javier Camarena
Figaro - Vito Priante
Rosina - Daniela Mack
Doctor Bartolo - José Fardilha
Don Basilio - Ferruccio Furlanetto
Berta - Madeleine Pierard
Fiorello - Gyula Nagy
Ambrogio - Jonathan Coad
Officer - Donaldson Bell
Notary - Andrew Macnair
Royal Opera Chorus
Concert Master - Peter Manning
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House