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REVIEW: The Barber of Seville, Swansea City Opera, at Bridlington Spa

The Barber of Seville
The Barber of Seville

Swansea City Opera was clearly in crowd pleasing mode with a production that exploited to the full the comic potential of Rossini’s score.

Hakan Vramsmo was as charismatic as a Figaro should be, orchestrating the frolics and introducing himself with a Largo al Factotum of clarity and elegance.

The tenor role of Count Almaviva may have been too demanding for Willaim Wallace, whose voice was a little ragged by the end, but nevertheless he played the dashing lover well.

It seems that Jessica Robinson was born to play Rosina.

Entirely convincing that Almaviva should fall in love with her at first sight, she possessed other assets such as her lyric soprano voice and impeccable comic timing. She was the full package.

In his dual role of Director of Swansea Opera and Doctor Bartolo in this production, Brendan Wheatley may have been forgiven for coming across as somewhat jaded on stage. Not a bit of it.

He threw himself into the role of Rosina’s guardian extracting every ounce of humour from scenes where an older man pursues a young woman.

Gary McCann’s set design suggested, rather than embodied, an 18th century Seville and Gabriella Ingram’s costumes were traditional enough even for my tastes.

The Barber of Seville exemplifies Opera Buffa.

When you compare its lightness of touch with what Swansea Opera plan to tour next year, the so-called versmo operas of Pagliacci and Cavalleria Rusticana, you appreciate how wide-ranging opera can be.

Swansea City Opera strives to make its productions clear and easily accessible for everyone, and prides itself on the quality of our singers and orchestra.

There is usually a pre-performance talk and outreach work.

The company was joined by local singers for the performance at Bridlington Spa.

What fun we had.

Swansea City Opera is at Harrogate Theatre on Friday May 4 at 7.3pm.

Tickets: 01423 502 116.