Last week was another of our New Cultural Doings In 2015 with a visit to the always pretty London Coliseum to see the English National Opera's production of Rossini's comic opera THE BARBER OF SEVILLE.
I had been quite busy all week and, come Friday, I was looking forward to seeing the opera but sadly it all caught up with me and I drifted in and out of snooze despite the best efforts of the loud and lively ENO orchestra and the singers.
The production actually dates from 1987 and Jonathan Miller's direction is here recreated by Peter Relton and while it is usually the case that if it ain't broke don't fix it, I felt that what was funny in 1987 might not still be true today, even when reviving an early 19th Century opera. And the set was mainly beige... beige! Tanya McCallin, what was going on with your colour palate back then?
It is quite rollicking and certainly raced through the plot of Figaro, the barber of the title, helping Count Almaviva to woo and win pretty Rosina away from Dr. Bartolo, her crotchety guardian who wants her for his own. Just typing that makes me think of Sweeney Todd!
There's nice work being done by Morgan Pearse as Figaro, a cheeky chappy on the make, Kathryn Rudge as Rosina (no wilting ingenue she, she gave as good as she got!) and Andrew Shore made the most of the foolish Dr Bartolo, in very much the same way that he milked the role of The Major General in THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE which we saw earlier this year. Among the ensemble, Katherine Broderick was a feisty and full-throated Berta, servant to Bartolo.
All in all it was a nice way to spend the evening, drowsing along to Rossini's delightful score. I'm sure it will still be around in a year or so if I feel the urge to see it again.