The Barber of Seville is back at ENO

Rossini's classic comedy, The Barber of Seville comes back to ENO for 7 performances only.

The Barber of Seville is back at ENO

Almost 37 years after the English National Opera debut of Jonathan Miller’s production of Rossini’s opera-classic comedy, The Barber of Seville, revival by Peter Relton brings the masterpiece back at London Coliseum for only 7 performances until the 29th February.

Rossini's opera, The Barber of Seville, depicts the events of the first of the three plays by French playwright Pierre Beaumarchais. All three plays tell the comical life story of the barber, Figaro in the eighteenth century. This one specifically focuses on how Figaro helps the dashing Count Almaviva save the beautiful Rosina from the hold of her ward Dr Bartolo, who wishes to marry her.

Bringing life to one of the most famous opera characters, Charles Rice had big shoes to fill in and he has done a marvellous job. Cunning, hilarious and dominant, Charles Rice’s portrayal of Figaro is everything it should be. From the first moment he appears on the stage his performance is bustling and captivating.

Making her ENO debut with this play and becoming a soprano Rosina rather than the usual mezzo-soprano, Anna Devin perfectly encapsulates the vivacious spirit of intelligent and beautiful Rosina. Her angelic voice was one of the most attractive attributes of the production.

The award-winning opera singers, Innocent Masuku, Simon Bailey and Alastair Miles’s Count Almaviva, Dr Bartolo and Don Basilio respectively are also masterful as expected. After playing Rosina 25 years ago Lesley Garrett returns as Berta, an absolute scene-stealer, and adds so much energy to the production.

It would be amazing to have this cast come back for a production of The Marriage of Figaro, the second play in the trilogy, composed by Mozart.

Figaro’s aria being one of the most famous opera arias, Rice’s performance was excellent. However, the staging of that specific scene was a little underwhelming. Many Italian productions have richer uses of props and chorus to visually illustrate Figaro’s point of how busy he is, making the scene visually lively. The minimal props with the wigs, even with Rice’s skilful physical acting and the orchestra’s brilliant performance are not quite enough to create the same effect.

It was a full house on the opening night of the show with lots of positive reactions to the performance. The late 18th century audience loved its comedies and like Shakespearean comedies, it appears that opéra comique is also inexhaustible and still as funny and enjoyable to a modern audience.

They have limited availability left for the remaining 5 evening performances and 1 matinee with tickets selling out fast so if you are an opera fan or an opera newbie, this is definitely one to see. Go book your tickets now.

Header Image Credit: Lesley Garrett, Anna Devin, Innocent Masuku, Charles Rice, Simon Bailey, Alastair Miles, ENO’s The Barber of Seville 2024 © Clive Barda

Author

Aysel Dilara Kasap

Aysel Dilara Kasap Voice Reviewers

I am a writer, the editor-in-chief of the non-profit creative writing website Feather Pen and a publishing hopeful. I am passionate about books while being a music and theatre enthusiast and generally enjoying all forms of art.

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