Review: OPERA 4.0 - IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA at Admiralspalast Berlin - Opera 4.0, 'NO!!!'

By: Sep. 08, 2019
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Review: OPERA 4.0 -  IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA at Admiralspalast Berlin - Opera 4.0, 'NO!!!' IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA is a warhorse comedic opera from the standard repertory of opera houses worldwide. Its charming, hummable melodies are instantly recognizable, having been used in everything from commercials to the infamous Bugs Bunny classic cartoon "What's Opera, Doc?"

This evening, Opera 4.0, a Berlin-based production company, presented its supposedly "updated" version this Rossini masterpiece. The press materials for this performance read as follows: "Intelligible opera at last! Come and see Rossini's 'The Barber of Seville' and enjoy a whole new opera experience: a richer soundworld and more lively than a musical!" Regarding this completely misguided, idiotic mess of a show thrust upon an unsuspecting audience, I can only say "Nothing could be further from the truth."

Obviously, a great deal of time, money and energy was spent on this production as all the necessary ingredients for a great performance were present. BARBIERE boasted an excellent orchestra, a good conductor and a cast of talented, professional singers. Unfortunately, the entire show was sabotaged by director DEDA CRISTINA COLONNA, whose incompetence knows no limit and a harpsichordist who fancied himself the reincarnation of Liberace. If Maestro Rossini was listening to the harpsichord accompaniment during this evening's recitatives, I am sure he is spinning in his grave. I can honestly say, I have seldom witnessed a theatrical mess of this magnitude.

Out of respect to the young singers involved in this unmitigated disaster, I am not naming any names in this review. These hard-working, talented young professionals have certainly suffered enough during the rehearsal of this nonsense. Flanked by an enormous LED screen that filled the entire back wall of the theater, the singers were left to wander aimlessly around and around on a stage that was empty, save for 3 round stage elements that served neither dramatic nor logical purpose. During their arias, the singers were routinely upstaged by video projections behind them that neither illuminated the lyrics or emotional life of the characters, nor serve any discernible purpose but to be an enormous, inane distraction. If there was any "concept" behind this tedious hogwash, it was lost on the audience and this reviewer.

Opera 4.0 -- "No" just "No."


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