For the Valentine’s season Vancouver Opera has delivered another beautifully-staged love story to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Gioachino Rossini’s comic opera The Barber of Seville is known as one of the foremost works of opera buffa – Italian comic opera, even 200+ years after its debut.
The Barber of Seville brings all the stereotypes of classic operas to the stage; a pair of young lovers – Count Almaviva & Rosina, secret identities – wealthy Count Almaviva as poor student Lindoro, a would-be suitor keeping the duo apart – old Doctor Bartolo, Rosina’s guardian, conniving collaborators – Don Basilio, a faithful sidekick – Figaro, the Barber.
Director Ashlie Corcoran balances this collection of comic characters with beautiful music and vocals performed by a talented cast. Isaiah Bell as Count Almaviva/Lindoro gets into some scenery chewing moments in his various disguised attempts to woo Rosina. Julie Boulianne portrays Rosina with the flightly spirit of a young girl in love, rebelling against her guardian. Thomas Goerz as the love struck guardian Doctor Bortalo is a zany, dishevelled old man trying to hang on to the young Rosina (in a way that could never pass today’s social acceptabilities). Helping to orchestrate the scoundrels, secrets, and sweethearts is the charming Edward Nelson as Figaro. Much as today, the town barber is privy to the secrets of its citizens and the best person young Almaviva could have in his corner to win Rosina. Rounding out the cast, Taehyun Jun as Don Basilio, Gena van Oosten as Berta, Brandon Thornhill as Sergeant, Nicholas Borg as Fiorello all bring brilliant vocals to the stage.
In spite of a short technical glitch from a speaker above our seats, the lush orchestrations by Conductor Nathan Brock and Vancouver Opera Orchestra filled the Queen Elizabeth from the Overture throughout the nearly 3 hour performance. Set designer Ken MacDonald has created a stylized Italian villa that simply switches from inside to out, leaving the brightly costumed cast to stand-out, framed by the mostly white sets.
Presented in Italian with English surtitles, Vancouver Opera’s The Barber of Seville plays twice more, Thursday February 20th at 7pm and Sunday February 23rd at 2pm. Visit vancouveropera.ca for details and tickets.