Tobacco Factory Theatres Presents THE BARBER OF SEVILLE
Following a break in 2018, Opera Project are back at Tobacco Factory Theatres this autumn with a joyous, exuberant opera by Rossini - The Barber of Seville.
The prequel to The Marriage of Figaro, this great masterpiece of operatic comedy catapults the audience into the romance of Rosina and the Count Almaviva, a romance ably assisted by the Count's factotum, Figaro. In a plot bordering on the farcical, Dr Bartolo's own plans to marry Rosina, his ward of court, are thwarted at every step. If The Marriage of Figaro follows a loveless marriage, illicit assignations and the general difficulties of adulthood, The Barber of Seville is an explosion of youth, optimism and wit where love conquers the ever-encroaching cynicism of age.
Director Richard Studer says: "Barber is an absolute classic. It was composed in 1816 by a very young Italian composer, Rossini. He wrote three comedies and this was his crowning glory. Barber is a classic 'opera buffa' - farcical, funny, with characters of a type everyone would recognise."
As is usual for Opera Project, the opera will be performed in English with a translation written by Richard himself. And it was a fun translation to work on: "The plot is farcical and extremely funny. It isn't pent-up laughter, it is laugh out loud. There's no need for canned laughter on this one - it is full of slapstick. It has everything opera should have, except death."
Jonathan Lyness has re-arranged the score for an orchestra of 10 players, which is perfect for Barber: "The music is energetic and audacious from the moment the show starts, like a bubbling inferno of ideas, wit, vivacity and melody. Somebody who has never experienced classical music at any point in their life still cannot help but be taken on this whirlwind of pure, life-enhancing joy. It's also full of famous numbers. Within a couple of minutes, the barber Figaro bounces on stage and delivers this virtuosic number, which everyone will know and which sets the tone for the rest of the evening."
The company have assembled yet another outstanding cast, including British baritone Philip Smith as Figaro, brilliant Welsh mezzo soprano Rebecca Afonwy-Jones as the indomitable Rosina, and William Wallace (Ottavio in Don Giovanni, 2016) as Rosina's dashing young lover, the Count Almaviva. And in a comic star turn, internationally renowned baritone Nicholas Folwell (Scarpia in Tosca, 2017) is back as Rosina's ward, the extraordinary Dr Bartolo.
Richard and Jon agree that this should be an irresistible night at the theatre: "The show is full of energy, wit and sheer brilliance. And that's why The Barber of Seville is as popular now as it was 200 years ago. It is a universally loved show and is very close to our hearts. It is one of the top 10 operas."
The Barber of Seville opens at Tobacco Factory Theatres on Wed 18 September and runs until Sat 05 October. Tickets start from only £12 and, for customers aged 16-26, there are a limited number of tickets available every night for £10. All tickets are available online at tobaccofactorytheatres.com or on 0117 902 0344. Tickets and prices subject to availability.