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Gioachino Rossini’s The Barber of Seville - November 14, 2015 - Florida Grand Opera - 7:00 pm 

This opera initated the 75th anniversary season of the Florida Grand Opera.  Unfortunately, on Friday, November 13, 2015, terrorists struck Paris.  At the beginning of the opera, FGO announced that this opera particularly represented the spirit of equality, fraternity, and liberty of France.  The orchestra then played Le Marseillaise.  Everyone stood to honor France.  It was a very moving moment.

Dennis Garnhum, the director, decided to update the setting and staging of this opera by placing the opera in a warehouse supposedly to resemble a movie studio with props, costumes, and realia from the 1940’s.  My personal opinion is that it was a little too cute, a little too busy and the choreography a little too chopped.  All the principals had great voices and they did the best they could with the contrivance of the stage design.

In essence, Dr. Bartolo, in addition to being a “real” doctor, is also a studio tycoon and Rosina is his star (as opposed to ward).  The only true-to characters were Figaro and Count Almaviva.  

The original story line has Count Almaviva, in disguise as Lindoro, falling immediately in love with Rosina and following her to Seville.  He enlists Figaro’s help in wooing her by distracting Dr. Bartolo.  Dr. Bartolo decides he cannot wait and must marry his ward Rosina and has Don Basillio arrange a quickie marriage.

The rest of the opera is spent thwarting Dr. Bartolo’s plans and having Count Almaviva marry his true love.

There are many operas that can be updated to different times than the original writing but this is really not one of them as far as I am concerned.  There was just too much going on the stage and it detracted from the beautiful voices of the principals.  In addition, much of the stage design was pretty much the same stage design from FGO’s last opera.  It seems they just left it in place from last year.

The image is from the Florida Grand Opera web site

© Fred Searcy 2017