The Barber of Seville ★★★★ London Coliseum | February 12 - 29, 2024

Rossini's comic opera is a staple of the genre, and Jonathan Miller's erstwhile production always hits the mark. In its latest iteration, we were delighted by both the high quality of the performances and the enduring sprightliness of this English version of the masterpiece. The story is simple and sublimely silly. Count Almaviva is courting the lovely Rosina, and he is determined to thwart the dastardly plan of her guardian, Dr Bartolo who plans to marry her himself. To achieve his aim, Almaviva employs the wily barber, Figaro, who always has a plan to ensure the course of true love runs smooth. Charles Rice is a delight as the tonsorial trickster and he delivers his signature aria to perfection. To the role of Rosina, soprano Anna Devin brings a lively charm and a voice that thrills with its clear tone and easy delivery. She is a splendidly capricious and captivating Rosina, and the singing lesson scene is a definite highlight. The duets with Innocent Masuku as Almaviva are thoroughly charming, and the latter brings a pleasing voice and an agile presence to his role as the amorous aristocrat. Simon Bailey as the lascivious Dr Bartolo and his partner in perfidy Alastair Miles as Don Basilio were in danger of stealing the show as they both made the most of their comic roles. They perfectly catch the commedia dell'arte spirit of the piece. Rossini's work continues to amuse and divert audiences long after its creation, and each revival of this production manages to consummately capture the spirit of that comic classic.

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Clive Barda

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