by Robert Rollin
Last Friday evening, November 30, Opera Western Reserve presented its annual Stambaugh Auditorium production. It has been several years since the company has scheduled an opera buffa, or comic opera, and Giachino Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, among the greatest in the genre, was a marvelous choice. Area opera lovers responded with an enormous appreciative crowd. Headlining the production was Youngstown-born tenor, Lawrence Brownlee, internationally known for his beautiful voice, remarkable technical agility, and dramatic flair. The Company dedicated the performance to Dr. Carol Baird for her devotion to the arts education of the children of Youngstown City Schools and her activities as The Youngstown Connection Founding Director. Prior to the performance Brownlee expressed his appreciation for Baird’s irreplaceable contribution to his artistic development.
Rossini wrote this masterpiece at the age of twenty-four, and the production sparkled with stunningly attractive singing, rapid-fire pacing, and fine choral and orchestral accompaniment. Brownlee, as Count Almaviva, Rosina’s eager suitor, led the impeccable cast, and lived up to his international reputation with fabulous vocal delivery. His pearly tone and fine acting were consistent all evening. [Read more…]