Saturday, October 27, 2007

You must, must, must go and see it!

Rossini's 'Barber of Seville', that is, at the Staatsoper in Berlin. It's brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! Starting already with the overture and some ironic rallentandos and unexpected echos (conducted by Paolo Arrivabeni), this production bursts into life and never stops till the end.

Set on a white stage with a mini theatre made from sheets of fabric hanging off wires, Ruth Berghaus' production resembles those paper and cardboard models one had of eighteenth-century theatres. This is reinforced by the exaggeratedly caricaturic characters all of which have their own walk (as if they were pushed around the stage on a stick of cardboard) as they appear and disappear. The costumes were pure 18th century, with ironic additions.

Figaro (Alfredo Daza) was wonderful, totally as he should be, a factotum, a fixer who could sort out anyone's problems; great singer, too. Count Almaviva (Dimitri Korchak) seemed a bit weedy at the beginning, but soon picked up speed and was a brilliant comic actor. Alexander Vinogradov as Don Basilio floated all over the stage, backwards and forwards, eyes rolling all around his head - his aria on the power of libel was to die for. All others were great, too.

It really was a great, great performance; the house was packed and everyone enjoyed themselves hugely. The orchestra played wonderfully, too. If you go to Berlin, check out this one (and if you go to Sydney, Australia, check out their very different, but equally stunning, production).


granny p said...

Would that I could...but I'll alert my painter friend in Berlin.

Am playing Cenerentola on my laptop right now (I've managed to introduce the DVD to eldest granddaughter, who loves it.) Delicious Rossini. Mozart he may not be...but..