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Barber of Seville
One of the most popular comic operas of all time in a superb production from the Liceu Grand Theatre in Barcelona, with a most ingenious set and absolutely stellar singing led by two of today’s greatest opera stars - María Bayo as the young ward Rosina and Juan Diego Flórez as her handsome suitor, Count Almaviva. The wily Figaro (the Barber) is played by the wonderful lyric baritone Pietro Spagnoli, Bruno Practicò is the hapless guardian Don Bartolo, while the cunning singing teacher Basilio is the renowned Ruggero Raimondi. Critics have lavished praise on the Teatro Real’s production. “Overflowing with a mischievous joy for life that is infectious! A dazzlingly colourful closing scene is a true masterstroke!” - Classical Net Review. The Sunday Times pronounced superstar Juan Diego Flórez “Dazzlingly virtuosic“.
Comments from Jury members:
“By far the best “Barber of Seville”! We loved it all. Rosina was perfect, Figaro by his presence, his acting and his voice delighted us. We only have the very slightest reservation for the voice of Florez which the three of us did not agree about: his technique and acting are remarkable but one of us found the timbre of his voice a little cold, metallic and not sufficiently rounded. She is the only one to have this opinion! Bravo as well for the sets and costumes, an example of visual art up to the same high standard as the rest of the production!”
Three members of the “Cercle d’Art Lyrique de Montpellier”.
“FANTASTIC—MARVELLOUS Lovely evening! Top staging and set. Lovely colours.”
“The design was great, the singing superb. I would have liked a bit more characterisation in Don Bartolo, more Buffo—like Ruggiero Raimondi. Did not always understand what the chorus were doing in the background. However, Florez, Rosina and Figaro were superb! There were however rather too many close-ups—which in HD are not always too flattering.”
“Everything was tremendous, marvellous. The only thing I didn’t like was Rosina’s hairstyle, which was a little bit old-fashioned.”
“Glorious, perfect!”. Florez, Bayo and Raimondi—three great artists.”
“Adored the costumes, scenery and the direction—plus of course all the cast. Lighting superbly done.”
“A particularly elegant production with brilliant costumes. It was a moment of great joy and of course Figaro sublime and Rosina as well.”
“Loved the set and the use of colour with all black and white at the beginning and full colour at the end. The music and singing was great.”
“Excellent production—the way the sets were moved around and the other stage business was so creative and kept the piece moving all the time. Excellent voices. A very satisfying evening.”
“Loved the entire production. Don Bartolo looked like Tweedledum, but that just added to the effect. What a discovery, Maria Bayo’s voice was divine! So was Florez’s. I have heard better Don Basilios, but this one was great as well.”
Singing / performance: A-
HDVD production: B+
Overall ranking: A-