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Thread: The Barber of Seville at Greensboro Opera

          
   
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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    The Barber of Seville at Greensboro Opera

    The Barber of Seville, or The Useless Precaution
    Il barbiere di Siviglia, ossia L'inutile precauzione
    Opera buffa in two acts, sung in Italian (with English supertitles)
    Music by Gioacchino Rossini
    Libretto by Cesare Sterbini, based on Pierre Beaumarchai's stage comedy Le Barbier de SÚville

    Premiered at the Teatro Argentina in Rome, Italy, on February 20, 1816

    Greensboro Opera, Greensboro, NC, USA - January 12, 2018 (another performance of this production will happen on January 14, 2018 at 2 PM, UNC Greensboro Auditorium, 408 Tate Street)

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    The Barber of Seville at Greensboro Opera - Curtain calls - photo credit Opera Lively
    From left to right, the singers in the roles of the Notary, Sargent, Fiorello, Don Basilio, Count Almaviva, Figaro, Rosina, Dr. Bartolo, Berta, and Guitarist


    See the full announcement with link to ticket sales and exclusive Opera Lively interviews with the four principal singers, by clicking [here] - these are very interesting interviews; the singers came up with intelligent and instructive answers to our questions - a must read!

    Greensboro Opera Orchestra conducted by Joel Revzen
    Greensboro Opera Chorus, chorus master James Baumgardner

    Producer/Stage Director - Opera Lively interviewee David Holley
    Sets designed for Opera Carolina by Peter Dean Beck, provided by Utah Opera
    Lighting Designer/Technical Director - Jeff Neubauer
    Wardrobe Coordinator - Sydney de Briel - Costumes designed for Utah Opera by Susan Memmott Allred
    Wigs and Make-up - Trent Pcenicni

    Principal roles

    Figaro - Opera Lively interviewee David Pershall
    Rosina - Opera Lively interviewee Cecelia Hall
    Count Almaviva - Opera Lively interviewee Andrew Owens
    Dr. Bartolo - Opera Lively interviewee Donald Hartmann
    Don Basilio - Tyler Simpson

    Smaller roles

    Berta - Stephanie Foley Davis
    Fiorello - Ryan Hill

    Comprimarios

    Sargeant - Jacob Kato
    Notary - Christian Blackbrun
    Guitarist (silent) - Kevin Dollar

    -----------

    Greensboro Opera put together an extraordinary ensemble of singers for this production, to a degree rarely seen in a regional opera company. We had heard four of these artists live on stage in past shows: Cecelia, Andrew, Donald, and Stephanie, and very much liked all four, so our expectations for the evening were high, and they were fully met or even surpassed. Two of the main singers were not previously known to us: David and Tyler. They turned out to be terrific too.

    David Pershall is an extraordinary Figaro - actually one of the best we've ever seen. Huge voice with excellent projection and a beautiful timbre, agility for the patter songs, great acting skills, and comedic flare are all attributes exhibited by this outstanding artist, not to forget that he is quite handsome. His performance alone is enough to call this show "highly recommended" and "not to be missed." Just to see his Figaro even if this production didn't have other merits (which it does), local and regional audiences are well advised to gobble-up all remaining tickets for the Sunday matinee.

    And then, our Rosina, the lovely Cecelia Hall, is also a pleasure to hear and see. This very well-trained singer possesses purity of voice and very secure top and bottom registers, with good volume, great pitch control, and nicely done coloratura. Her "Una voce poco fa" was a thing of beauty, including her own personalized ornamentation.

    Andrew Owens has good technique, diction, and musicality with accurate notes. Donald Hartmann was as good as ever, with a wonderful sense of comedy and a vigorous voice that doesn't seem to tire after almost forty years of career. Tyler Simpson delivered a delightful "La calunnia Ŕ un venticello" and impressed with both his singing and acting. And we know we have a luxury cast when the small role of Berta is so well staffed by someone as good as Stephanie Foley Davis.

    The overall score for the singing is a near perfect A++; such a pleasure! It's been a long time since we've been so pleased with the entire cast.

    Unfortunately the pit did not perform as well as the stage, with issues such as uneven balance (the brass section was too loud), a lack of accuracy in some instruments (e.g. the trumpets), and episodes of missed synchrony with the stage.

    The physical production was originally designed for Opera Carolina - we had seen it before - and was provided by Utah Opera, together with the costumes. It is not imaginative but it is visually pleasant enough and non-intrusive, allowing the focus to remain on the singers. Lighting was well done, conveying well the various times of the day, and a storm. Stage direction was good with interesting funny touches (e.g. the Count in disguise struggling with his hat) and the public laughed out loud several times.

    The supertitles at times contained puzzling translations of the original Italian (such as something to the effect of "I want to be left alone" for "mi fo guidar" which means "I let myself be guided", or "leave town like a worm" for "per gran sorte ha crepar" which is rather "will consider himself fortunate if he dies"). Also, for some lines the translation was missing.

    Regardless of these small glitches, the phenomenal strength of this show in terms of singing makes of it one of the most special ones of the season throughout the entire state, justifying a few hours of travel for readers who are at driving distance, in order to catch the last chance to hear these excellent singers on Sunday.

    We were invited to mingle with the artists after the show, enjoying David Holley's hospitality in a delicious reception featuring exquisite food (scallops ceviche, smoked salmon tarte, roast beef) and nice red and white wines. We were glad to meet in this reception our friends the fabulous soprano Jill Bowen Gardner and her husband bass-baritone Jake Gardner who came to support the show, in a break from their own performances.

    It was a very pleasant evening, and we were happy that we braved the elements (big thunderstorm) and the traffic jams and accidents on I-40 to attend this excellent show. Hopefully the weather will be better on Sunday, but rain or shine, the opportunity to listen to such a great cast should not be neglected. Bravo, Greensboro Opera!
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); January 13th, 2018 at 04:38 PM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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  3. #2
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    The production pictures below obtained at dress rehearsal were gently sent to us by Greensboro Opera; the use is authorized.

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    Andrew Owens, Cecelia Hall, and David Pershall in Greenboro Opera's The Barber of Seville, photo credit Star Path Images

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    Andrew Owens and Cecelia Hall in Greenboro Opera's The Barber of Seville, photo credit Star Path Images

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    David Pershall and Ryan Hill in Greenboro Opera's The Barber of Seville, photo credit Star Path Images

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    Cecelia Hall in Greenboro Opera's The Barber of Seville, photo credit Star Path Images

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    Donald Hartmann and Tyler Simpson in Greenboro Opera's The Barber of Seville, photo credit Star Path Images

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    Donald Hartmann in Greenboro Opera's The Barber of Seville, photo credit Star Path Images

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    Donald Hartmann in Greenboro Opera's The Barber of Seville, photo credit Star Path Images

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    Andrew Owens and Cecelia Hall in Greenboro Opera's The Barber of Seville, photo credit Star Path Images

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    Joel Revzen conducting the Dress Rehearsal for Greenboro Opera's The Barber of Seville, photo credit Star Path Images
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); January 13th, 2018 at 03:20 PM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Wow, this looks really great and a traditional production. The sets and costumes look wonderful. A shame it is not being recorded for DVD release. Would be well worth a cross country trip to see this.
    Since that night at the Polka, I don't understand you, Sheriff.
    --Ashby, La Fanciulla del West

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