The Canadian Opera Company’s spring run continues with Gioacchino Rossini’s opera buffa, The Barber of Seville. A comedy of mischievous mayhem and delightful absurdities, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville is eternally popular for its frothy charm and irresistible melodies. Director Michael Patrick Albano, last with the COC for the critically acclaimed Ensemble Studio production of Swoon, returns to stage this production. Peruvian conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya, music director of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, makes his company debut leading the COC Orchestra and Chorus for nine performances, while assistant conductor Steven Philcox conducts two performances. The Barber of Seville runs April 16 at 7:30 p.m., 19 at 7:30 p.m., 25 at 7:30 p.m., May 2 at 7:30 p.m., 4 at 2 p.m.,
8 at 7:30 p.m., 10 at 4:30 p.m., 13 at 7:30 p.m., 16 at 7:30 p.m., 21 at 7:30 p.m., and 23 at 7:30 p.m., 2008 and is sung in Italian with English SURTITLES™.
The Barber of Seville follows the young Count Almaviva who is in love with the charming Rosina. She is a prisoner in the home of her elderly guardian, Dr. Bartolo, who intends to marry her himself. To gain access to Rosina, Almaviva hires the services of Figaro, the irrepressible barber who spends as much time scheming as he does shaving. Last performed by the COC in 1999, this production brings together set designer John Stoddart and lighting designer Stephen Ross.
Beloved characters and sparkling arias make The Barber of Seville one of the world’s most popular and frequently performed operas. Singing the role of Rosina, the young and beautiful ward, is Albanian soprano Enkelejda Shkosa. Macedonian tenor Blagoj Nacoski, is her admirer, the ardent Count Almaviva. Ms Shkosa has sung with major opera houses around the world including Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Mr. Nacoski, who recently sang Almaviva with Polish National Opera, also appeared with Frankfurt Oper, Teatro Regio in Parma, and Zurich Opera. Both Ms Shkosa and Mr. Nacoski make their company debuts. Recently appearing with Welsh National Opera and the Metropolitan Opera, Russian baritone Rodion Pogossov makes his COC debut as the mischievous barber, Figaro. Returning to the COC are bass-baritone Patrick Carfizzi as Dr. Bartolo, and bass Burak Bilgili as Don Basilio. COC Ensemble Studio bass Justin Welsh is Fiorello, Ensemble soprano Melinda Delorme is Berta, and Ensemble bass-baritone Alexander Hajek is the Notary.
The Barber of Seville, libretto by Cesare Sterbini, is based on Pierre-Augustin Beaumarchais’ satirical Le barbier de Séville, which is the first in a series of three plays. The second instalment of the series, Le mariage de Figaro, known in the opera world as Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, opened the COC’s current season. The opera premiered in Rome in 1816 under the name Almaviva, ossia l’inutile precauzione, and Rossini maintained this title for four months before he switched it back to the play’s original name. The fame of Rossini’s popular opera quickly spread, and to this day is a mainstay of the operatic repertoire.
Single tickets for The Barber of Seville are on sale and may be purchased online at www.coc.ca, by calling 416-363-8231, or in person at the Four Seasons Centre Box Office (145 Queen St. W., Toronto). Ticket prices for all performances range from $60 to $275. Special young people’s tickets for all performances throughout the season are priced from $30 to $95. These ticket prices apply to those who are 15 years of age or under, accompanied by and sitting next to an adult.
Starting Saturday, March 22, 2008 at 10 a.m., $20 tickets will be available for patrons between the ages of 16 and 29 through the Opera for a New Age program presented by TD Bank Financial Group, and can be purchased online at www.coc.ca or in person at the Four Seasons Centre Box Office (145 Queen St. W., Toronto). Student group tickets are $20 per student and may be purchased by calling 416-306-2356. Remaining Opera for a New Age tickets will be released as $20 rush seats at 11 a.m. the morning of the performance, subject to availability.
The Canadian Opera Company Web site, at www.coc.ca, contains information on all productions including synopses, historical background, and production photographs.