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Previewed 7 April 2004, Opened 15 April 2004, Closed 19 June 2004 at the Savoy Theatre in London
Raymond Gubbay and Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen's Savoy Opera presents a major new production of Rossini's comic opera The Barber Of Seville in London, sung in English. Performed in repertory with Mozart's The Marriage Of Figaro.
Rossini's comic opera The Barber Of Seville was written after Mozart's Marriage of Figaro, although it tells the story of the same characters before the Count has won Rosina from under the nose of her jealous Guardian, Doctor Bartolo. It is full of masterly writing and delightful ensembles that provide a quick pace for the comic scheming by the colourful characters, with their mixed-up identities and disquises.
The cast for this production of Barber Of Seville in London features Geoffrey Dolton as 'Doctor Bartolo', Geoffrey Dolton as 'Bartolo', Phyllis Cannan as 'Berta', Darren Abrahams as 'Almaviva', Owen Gilhooly as 'Figaro' and Sally Wilso as 'Rosina' with the Royal Philharmonic Opera Orchestra conducted by Brad Cohen. Translated by David Parry, directd by Aletta Collins with designs by Gideon Davey.
"The tireless impresario Raymond Gubbay opens his bravely unsubsidised Savoy Opera season with a cheerful production of Rossini's The Barber of Seville. I can't pretend that overall it amounts to anything of artistic distinction, but it does offer two significant virtues that could make it a genuine popular success. The first of these is a high level of textual audibility. This is achieved by 100 per cent organic and natural means: no miking, no surtitles, only the words and the jokes (the opera is played in English) communicating easily through the music, as the composer intended. There's no great secret behind this: the Savoy is a medium-sized theatre, the orchestra is small and the singers are trained to project. But it's a rare pleasure. The second significant virtue is a star turn from Geoffrey Dolton as Doctor Bartolo. His voice - a modestly serviceable baritone - may be no great shakes, but his enunciation, timing and comic energy are irresistible, and his splenetically Fawlty-esque characterisation makes a welcome antidote to the fat old codger of tradition." The Guardian
"With their opening two productions, Raymond Gubbay and Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen's Savoy Opera may be said to have got off to a flying start. Two comic operas in inventive stagings, performed by promising young singers backed by stalwart veterans, sung in audible English in the intimate Savoy Theatre... The opening night gave us Rossini's The Barber Of Seville in a sizzlingly zany production by Aletta Collins, which updated the opera to the 1970s and set it initially outside a block of flats and later in the kitchen of one. It became a sort of Carry On Up Seville with Pythonesque flourishes that had the audience roaring. Gun-toting policemen in shades and Doctor Bartolo's pet cat in the oven were just two of the inspired touches and if the designs looked slightly downmarket, who cares? The Royal Philharmonic Opera Orchestra played brightly for Brad Cohen and the entire cast projected every word of David Parry's witty translation." The Sunday Express
The Barber Of Seville in London at the Savoy Theatre previewed from 7 April 2004, opened on 15 April 2004 and closed on 19 June 2004 - performed in repertory with The Marriage Of Figaro.