by Mike Telin
It’s difficult to say whether Mozart’s or Rossini’s opera based on Pierre Beaumarchais’ tale of the resourceful character of Figaro is more popular. In April of 2017, Cleveland Opera Theater staged a brilliant production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, and this weekend, the company will take on Rossini’s hilarious prequel, The Barber of Seville. Dr. Bartolo plans to marry the young Rosina, although Count Almaviva has other plans and enlists the help of the enterprising barber to win her for himself. The two-act comic opera is filled with forbidden love and amusing disguises, as well as a gossipy music teacher, and a crafty bride-to-be.
You can hear Rossini’s Barber at the Maltz Performing Arts Center this Saturday, October 6 at 7:00 pm and Sunday, October 7 at 3:00 pm. The cast includes Young Kwang Yoo in the title role of Figaro, Corrie Stallings as love interest Rosina, David Margulis as the conniving Count Almaviva, Jason Budd as Rosina’s guardian Dr. Bartolo, Frank Ward as the music teacher Don Basilio, and Gillian Hollis as the governess Berta. Stage direction is by Scott Skiba, and Domenico Boyagian conducts the Cleveland Opera Theater orchestra. The production is sung in Italian, with English supertitles. A Pre-Show, Opera-101 lecture will be held 60 minutes prior to each performance. Tickets are available online.
“Barber is a wonderful first opera for people to see,” Boyagian said by telephone this past weekend. “It’s clean humor and the music does a wonderful job of explaining what is going on. It’s light and bubbly, which is what the bel canto style is all about.”