Saturday, May 5, 2007
Il Barbiere di Siviglia
I'm not a huge fan of The Barber of Seville (or the bel canto repetoire in general, for that matter), but Bartlett Sher's brisk and stylish new production for the Met had me grinning ear to ear for three hours. Anyone with Sher's brilliant Broadway productions of Awake and Sing and The Light in the Piazza know that he always does a masterful job of blending savoir-fare and substance, which is something that is usually lacking in modern opera interpretations. His usual collaborators--set designer Michael Yeargan and costumer Catherine Zuber--work hard to cover every inch of the Met's giant stage and deck the dramatis personae in chic period attire, while Christopher Ackerlind's ultrabright lighting matches the sunny mood of the light opera perfectly. In his company debut, Lawrence Brownlee makes for a smashing Almaviva, and while I will always prefer a coloratura voice for Rosina, mezzo wunderkind Joyce DiDonato is pretty darn special.