Awe-inspiring music around the countryby Neil Norman / May 19, 2016 / Leave a comment
Published in June 2016 issue of Prospect Magazine
Il barbiere di Siviglia
Glyndebourne Festival Opera, 22nd May to 17th July
The gold standard for comic operas, Gioachino Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia was not the first opera to be made from Pierre Beaumarchais’s trilogy of plays featuring the irrepressible hairdresser Figaro. There were many others knocking around at the end of the 18th century. When Rossini’s version received its premiere in 1816, fans of Giovanni Paisiello’s 1782 version encouraged the audience to jeer throughout the performance. By the second night Rossini’s masterpiece received its due acclaim and has rarely been absent from the repertoire since. This is Glyndebourne’s first production since 1982 and they are taking no chances. The director is the multi-talented Annabel Arden, co-founder of Complicité (whose production of L’elisir d’amore graced the Glyndebourne stage in 2007.) Award-winning German baritone Bjorn Burger plays Figaro, and receives able support from Glyndbourne regulars Danielle de Niese as Rosina and Italian buffo baritone Alessandro Corbelli as Dr Bartolo. The festival combines this new production with two revivals of past successes—David McVicar’s 2011 Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Melly Still’s Cunning Little Vixen from 2012.