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Barber of Seville at the ROH

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by Kat Parr Mackintosh (subscribe)
Young and coffee in varying degrees, Kat also says stuff @ThoroughlyMode
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There's a lot of colour in the Royal Opera's Barber of Seville. There's a lot of colour in all productions of this comic, and actually very funny, opera – what with the tongue twisting vocal gymnastics, the not just famous but well known score, and the storyline that boarders on farce. But this ROH production has extra colour, in the form of a bright set that rolls like the deck of a ship in some scenes and has hidden windows and doorways in others, a troop of London Bobbies and costumes by designer Christian Fenouillat.

In 2009, the last time this production was mounted, Joyce DiDonato (in the photo above), who's come back to play the playful love interest Rosina in 2011, broker her leg on stage mid-way though the performance, but opted to go on with the show anyway, and then performed the rest of the season from a wheelchair. Which added something to Rosina's line "I've got cramp in my foot", but meant that most people didn't get to see the full staging – so here's your chance! Her opposite, or leading man, in that production was Juan Diego Florez, who's returning to the ROH for this season as well. In fact the other main characters, Figaro and Dr Bartolo are being played by the same artists as well – so it's basically a five star revival. Yay.

If you've not seen Barber, or Il barbiere di Siviglia, before, the story runs thus: Count Almaviva, in disguise serenades Rosina, the ward of Dr. Bartolo. He woos her in disguise so that she loves him not for his money. Figaro, the barber and once the Count's servant comes up with schemes to get the him closer to Rosina, who is virtually under house arrest in the Dr.'s house, in return for money. Obviously the Dr. wants to marry his ward himself – but largely for her dowry. The Count and Figaro must come up with a couple of different schemes before things work out for the best, but they get into all sorts of show stopping hijinks along the way.

If you don't know it don't worry, you'll have no trouble knowing what's going on - and hopefully enjoying the farce.
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Where: Covent Garden London, Bow Street Covent Garden WC2E 9DD, nearest station Covent Garden
Cost: From £8 standing
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