With the help of the crafty Figaro, the amorous Count Almaviva attempts to woo the beautiful Rosina from under the nose of her jealous and controlling ward, Dr. Bartolo. Enjoy the antics, the buffoonery, and the music!
(Pittsburgh, PA—January 24, 2013) Romance. Comedy. Confusion. And the masterful music of Gioachino Rossini propels The Barber of Seville, a comedy about the confusion of disguise and the power of love presented by UNDERCROFT OPERA, February 7-10, Seton Center Auditorium, 1900 Pioneer Ave., in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Brookline (15226). Tickets and information at: www.undercroftopera.org. Call 412.422.7919.
Undercroft Opera presents one of the world’s most popular comic operas composed by Rossini in 1816. The Barber of Seville is referred to as a sort of “prequel” to Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, written a century earlier. The libretto of Rossini’s opera is based on Beaumarchais’ comedy of the same name.
“Barber has consistently delighted audiences for its charming music and outright comedy,” says Mary Beth Sederberg. “Audiences have been laughing at the antics of Figaro and his companion Count Almaviva for 200 years. So, our company intends to have as much fun as our audiences!”
This new production of The Barber of Seville is directed by Patrick Brannan and accompanied by the Undercroft Orchestra, conducted by Walter Morales. A cast of 14 singers appear, with some singers double cast in roles, performing in two of the four performances. Barber is sung in Italian with English surtitles. Performances are Thurs., Fri., and Sat., Feb. 7, 8 and 9 at 7 pm and Sun., Feb. 10 at 2 pm.
Admission is $20-35, with discounts for seniors and students. Children under 12 are admitted at half price ($12-17). Tickets are on sale at www.undercroftopera.org and at the door.
About Undercroft Opera:
Undercroft Opera exclusively showcases local talent in traditional operatic productions. The vision of Undercroft, founded in 2006, is to provide Pittsburgh area singers and instrumentalists with an artistic outlet and a greater sense of community, while giving Pittsburgh audience members the opportunity to discover and experience the operatic talent that is literally in their own backyard.
The Story of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville:
Rosina, the ward of the protective Dr. Bartolo, catches the attention of the amorous Count Almaviva. With the help of Dr. Bartolo’s barber, Figaro, Almaviva is able to plot multiple schemes to get close to his love. A classic tale of love at first sight, the story is woven with the hilarious escapades of Figaro and the Count. Count Almaviva takes on multiple disguises in attempts to gain Rosina’s attention. Unsuccessful, he poses as a poor student named Lindoro, to whom Rosina takes fancy. Of course, hilarity ensues amongst the confusion and humorous nature of love. This fascinating opera was first performed in 1816, but its timeless themes transcend time and continue to make audiences laugh.
“It is hard to imagine a more perfect operatic comedy than The Barber of Seville,” says Mary Beth Sederberg.
About the Singers:
Count Almaviva, a local nobleman is sung by Jeff Gross and Chris Nickell. Jillian Marini and Becky Belczyk sing the role of Rosina, the guarded ward of Dr. Bartolo. The role of Figaro, a friend of Count Almaviva and Dr. Bartolo’s barber, is sung by Joseph Han and Zachary Luchetti.
The Cast Also Includes:
Jesse Davis as Dr. Bartolo, caretaker of Rosina; Milutin Lazich as Don Basilio, Bartolo’s friend and Rosina’s music instructor; Emily Swora and Sally Denmead sing the role of Berta, the housemaid; Fiorello, a servant to the Count is sung by Ngofeen Mputubwele and Benjamin Zaksek; Jonathan McNelis sings the role of Ambrosius, Bartolo’s servant; and Namy Farah sings the role of the Officer.
The Undercroft Opera Chorus portrays Officers, Soldiers, a Policeman, and a Notary. The artistic team includes: Chorus Master – Ben Filippone; Harpsichordist/Continuo – William Larson; Costume Designer – Robin Geisler; Scenic Designer – Neil Sederburg; Hair and Makeup Designer – Jennifer Hoffman; Coaching Staff – Hyery Hwang, Josie Merlino; and Stage Manager – Garth Schafer.
About the Opera:
With its first performance of The Barber of Seville on February 20, 1816, the opera was not an immediate success. Based on a famous play by Beaumarchais, story was previously set successfully by composer Giovanni Paisiello. When Paisiello’s fans heard about Rossini’s opera, they planned to cause a disturbance on opening night.
However, Rossini’s Barber grew in popularity over time and soon overshadowed Paisiello’s version. Rossini’s opera buffa quickly spread across Europe, with performances from London to St. Petersburg. By 1825, Rossini was arguably the most popular composer in the world and Barber became the first opera ever sung in Italian in New York City. Barber appears as number nine on the Operabase list of the most-performed operas worldwide.
In operatic terms, The Barber of Seville is somewhat considered a prequel. Beaumarchias’ original play was the first in a series of dramas. The Marriage of Figaro, the second drama in the series, became the source for Mozart’s classic opera. The characters in Barber continue their stories in Figaro. Rossini’s Figaro, the barber, is indeed the same Figaro in Mozart’s– prior to marriage.
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