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Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2009

Skylight Opera Presents ‘The Barber of Seville’

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In 1816 when Italian composer Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868) wrote Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville), he accepted a contract to work for Naples’ theaters, but other cities, too, clamored for his considerable felicity, and it was for a Roman audience that he composed Il barbiere. Though he was but 24 at the time and eventually composed some 32 operas, this work swept the theaters of Europe like few others, and ever since has not only been regarded as his single most famous work, but also a cornerstone of the entire operatic genre.

The Barber of Seville’s plot involves the amorous adventures of a young count as he seeks to win the lovely Rosina, “protected” by her ward, Dr. Bartolo (who has nefarious plans of his own). It’s the first in a trilogy of Figaro plays by the French dramatist Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, and the Skylight Opera Theatre is performing two of them this season. As Kristin Godfrey explains, “We are doing both Barber and (Mozart’s) Figaro with the same director and design team so they are very consciously paying attention to the year of the first show (Barber, set in 1785). The design for the second show (Figaro) will be what it would have looked like 10 years later, as in the story.”

Skylight Opera Theatreopens its season with Rossini’s Barber of Seville (in an English version by George Mead) at the Broadway Theatre Center from Sept. 18 through Oct. 4.

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