Barber revived

Catalan collective Els Comediants’ production of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville is back at the COC in a revival of the 2015 production.  Five years ago I described it as a “glorious romp” and, based on yesterday’s performance, I see non need to amend that judgement.  It may be even better this time.  It still has Joan Guillén’s wonderfully colourful and silly costumes and sets and it still has Joan Font’s inspired directing; perhaps even crisper this time.  Once again it has a wonderful cast of international and Canadian singers including a reprise of Bartolo by the admirable Renato Girolami.

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Ensemble Studio Barber

The Ensemble Studio got to do their thing last night with their annual main stage performance; this year, of course, Joan Font’s production of The Barber of Seville.  This year only one role was split; Andrew Haji singing Almaviva in Act 1 with Jean-Philippe Fortier-Lazure coming off the bench for the second half.  The other main roles went to Clarence Frazer as Figaro, Charlott Burrage as Rosina, Iain McNeil as Doctor Bartolo, Gordon Bintner as Don Basilio and Karine Boucher as Berta.  Ringer Jan Vaculik sang both Fiorello and the Officer.

2537 – (l-r) Clarence Frazer as Figaro, Andrew Haji as Count Almaviva, Charlotte Burrage as Rosina, Gordon Bintner as Don Basilio, Karine Boucher as Berta and Iain MacNeil as Doctor Bartolo in the Ensemble Studio performance of the Canadian Opera Company’s production of The Barber of Seville, 2015. Conductor Rory Macdonald, director Joan Font, set and costume designer Joan Guillén, choreographer Xevi Dorca and lighting designer Albert Faura.  Photo: Michael Cooper  Michael Cooper Photographic Office- 416-466-4474 Mobile- 416-938-7558 66 Coleridge Ave. Toronto, ON M4C 4H5

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A glorious romp

The COC’s new production of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville opened last night at the Four Season’s Centre.  The production is by the Catalan collective Els Comediants, the same team who did La Cenerentola a few seasons back, with direction by Joan Font and designs by Joan Guillén.  It’s a riot in a good way.  It’s bold, colourful and very well choreographed.  There are giant props; for example a huge guitar from which Almaviva sings his serenade and a giant pink piano which serves for all kinds of shenanigans.  A lot of the “sung action” is doubled by actors in a sort of on stage projection cube.  Scene changes are “on the fly” and the curtain only comes down for the interval and the end.  Bold, clever, slick.

Alek Shrader as Count Almaviva Photo: Michael Cooper

Alek Shrader as Count Almaviva. Photo: Michael Cooper

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