Culture Magazine

New Blood, and a Rubber Chicken

By Superconductor @ppelkonen

Il Barbiere di Siviglia returns to the Met.

New Blood, and a Rubber Chicken

Isabel Leonard (left) looks on as tenor Javier Camarena
sings "Cessa di piu' resistere" in Il Barbiere di Siviglia.
Photo by Ken Howard © 2011 The Metropolitan Opera.


Bartlett Sher's madcap take on Rossini's Barber of Seville has been around for five years now. This year's revival (seen Wednesday night at the Met) proves that this Looney Tunes-inspired staging continues to give audiences the chance to hear great voices make an impression in this beloved comedy.
Both Juan Diego Flórez and Diana Damrau cut their teeth as Count Almaviva and Rosina in 2006. Elina Garanca (2008) and Joyce DiDonato (2009) have also made an impression in the latter part. This year's revival offers the same opportuny to new singers: bel canto tenor Javier Camarena as Almaviva and mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard as Rosina.
Ms. Leonard made the stronger impression. Her throaty mezzo plunged the depths in "Una voce poco fa" and soared over the clattering ensemble in the finale of the first act. But what really stood out here was the Lesson Scene. Ms. Leonard took her pretty little aria (an afterthought in most stagings) and soared with it, adding extensive fioratura to stunning effect.
As Count Almaviva, the scheming, costume-changing nobleman whose efforts to woo Rosina drive the opera's plot, Mr. Camarena made a good entrance. He tossed off "Ecco ridente" with ease, and engaged in some good physical comic business with his small army of backup musicians, even throwing a chair at one point. He was excellent as the drunken soldier, and a convincing, funny Don Alonso. However, this promising Mexican tenor fell into a trap at the opera's end.
Ever since this production premiered with Mr. Flórez in the role of Almaviva, audiences have looked forward to hearing the difficult "Cessa di piu' resistere" right before the finale. But this difficult, florid aria proved to be too much of a challenge for Mr. Camarena. His instrument sounded awkward and stiff at points, the notes coming out on pitch but sounding compressed and slightly pinched. He was better in the final section ("E tu, infelice vittima") and managed a strong finish.
Peter Mattei returned as Figaro. Having created the role for this production, he showed great familiarity ease with the part. His breezy "Largo al Factotum" (opening from the top of his rolling barber-shop) got the opera moving and his physical, comic acting with Mr. Camarena added zest to "Al idea di quell' metallo." Paata Burchuladze was a funny, familiar presence as Don Basilio. Maurizio Muraro was a mediocre Bartolo, engaging in mugging when he should be singing this tricky comic villain.
Mr. Sher's production remains sturdy, with its slamming doors, dropping anvils and offstage explosions. (This year's kitchen explosion included a rubber chicken, flung across the stage at the harpsichord.) Mute clown Rob Besserer (as Ambrogio) remains a key component of the goings-on, although he broke silence to mutter "basta" at Mr. Camarena and Mr. Muraro during "Pace, gioia." Maurizio Benini's conducting was serviceable, but could have been tighter.


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Notes on Jake ~ 10 Months Old

    Notes Jake Months

    It's hard to believe that we've only had Jake for a little over four months. This summer has flown by and Jake has become such a part of the family that it feel... Read more

    18 hours, 8 minutes ago by   Hikingwithheather
    OUTDOORS, TREK
  • Banana Coconut Bread

    Banana Coconut Bread

    (recipe adapted modify slightly from Cuisine Paradise)Ingredients:3 large eggs120g ripe bananas, mashed3 Tbsp maple syrup40g coconut oil1 Tbsp rum1/4 cup... Read more

    18 hours, 25 minutes ago by   Cathysjoy
    FOOD & DRINK, RECIPES
  • Learn How To Write A Blog With These 13 Tips

    Learn Write Blog With These Tips

    The idea of creating your blog has been around for a long time. For many companies, blogs have become a tool that increases the potential of an online... Read more

    The 20 August 2018 by   Kharim Tomlinson
    BUSINESS, SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Play It By Beer, Brad Saunders Interview + 5 Quick Questions

    Play Beer, Brad Saunders Interview Quick Questions

    Brad Saunders has had a busy year. And the latest buzz, thanks to his most recent single Play It By Beer, has him planning on staying busy. We caught up with... Read more

    The 20 August 2018 by   Phjoshua
    LIFESTYLE, SELF EXPRESSION
  • Dan Lawson’s JOGLE FKT Record Attempt Over

    Lawson’s JOGLE Record Attempt Over

    British 24 hour international, Dan Lawson set off from John O Groats on August 13th at 6:00 am and is currently in the Mendip Hills south of Bristol. This... Read more

    The 20 August 2018 by   Abichal
    OTHER SPORTS, OUTDOORS
  • The European Union Just Made Bioenergy Worse for Biodiversity

    European Union Just Made Bioenergy Worse Biodiversity

    While some complain that the European Union (EU) is an enormous, cumbersome beast (just ask the self-harming Brexiteers), it generally has some rather laudable... Read more

    The 20 August 2018 by   Bradshaw
    ENVIRONMENT
  • The Romantics

    Romantics

    These two words conjure an image in my mind of running through fields with flowers in my hand and my beloved running after me, very much like the Bollywood film... Read more

    The 20 August 2018 by   Ashleylister
    BOOKS, CREATIVITY, CULTURE, SELF EXPRESSION