‘THE BARBER OF SEVILLE’.
(photo credit: ALESSANDRO VILLA)
The recently established Jerusalem Opera deserves congratulations for a successful, lively, fast-moving production of Rossini’s opera The Barber of Seville.
Naturally, there still were some childhood diseases. Stage director Davide Garattini’s obsession with modernity, for instance, tended to transgress the boundaries of plausibility and good taste. Why Rosina’s food shop should be more contemporaneous than a doctor’s apartment was left unexplained.
Singers and minor actors wandered purposelessly around the overpopulated stage, diverting the audience’s attention from the main plot. On the whole, though, it was a fairly amusing stage production. Paolo Vitale’s sets were abstract, except for the food shop, consisting mainly of movable segments that could be shifted around according to need, leaving much to the audience’s imagination.
The cast was a pleasant surprise. It consisted mostly of not yet very well known talented Israeli and foreign singers who performed their roles with remarkable artistic capability.
In the title role, Gabriele Ribis’ warm, friendly baritone was a humorous Figaro, though sometimes more clownish than suits this, the plot’s most clever, role. His initial aria, Largo il factotum, was an encouraging promise for the delights to come. As Almaviva, Oshri Segev’s appealing tenor was a convincing, though not very impassioned lover. In the role of Bartolo, Alexandre Diakoff’s overbearing bass-baritone represented a self-important, arrogant Bartolo, delivering Rossini’s typical tongue twisters with virtuosity. Denis Sedov’s dark bass was a menacing Basilio in his La calumnia (“slander”) aria, though somewhat lacking in subtle nuances. Mima Millo’s cute soprano was a charming Rosina with polished coloraturas, yet too shouting on the higher notes.
Conducted by Omer Arieli, the Ashdod symphony Orchestra provided the instrumental support accurately – occasionally somewhat too accurately, without adjusting to the singers’ flexibilities of tempo.
One is looking expectantly to the Jerusalem Opera’s next productions.
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