Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Gioachino Rossini, Il Barbiere di Siviglia – Aalto-Theater Essen

Performance 4th June

With The Barber of Seville the Aalto-Theater staged its last premiere in this season. Therefore worked Jan Philipp Gloger together with Ben Baur (set design) and Marie Roth (costumes) to invent an overall well-thought-out interpretation of Rossinis opera buffa. For this Figaro put Rosina already during the overture into a wooden box where she had to live over the opera’s full length. That means that the whole story took place in a huge wooden box. Rosina were caught in this box, could not escape and functioned as a buyable article and not so much as an human being with true feelings of love. To point out her status as an object did Rosina wear a red dress and a grand red bow. Karin Strobos showed her Rosina in a multifaceted way. In the high register as well in the lower one came Strobos with a strong and richly coloured voice. Her interactional play especially with Count Almaviva entertained the audience for great laughter. Laughing was definitely allowed and favoured. It started right at the beginning of the overture when Figaro entered the stage with a baton and tried to conduct the orchestra. Through the whole opera Figaro stayed in this role of the conductor and directed the situations and persons on stage. Georgius Iatrou mimed a pretty casual Figaro who loves it when everything works as he predicted and planed. It was very clear that Iatrou was quite nervous at the beginning. His entrance aria seemed to be as in a rush. Towards the end of the first half his voice cleared up so his mild baritone voice appeared and brought an impishly figure whose singing showed a friendly character but whose gestures were full of evil purpose. Count Almaviva on the contrary was the always Rosina loving character who trusted Figaro’s talent to bring him together with his beloved girl. Juan José de León made sheep’s eyes at his Rosina with an impressive powerful voice where his high notes were extremely strong and thrilling. Also León’s playing came naturally and with joy. Quite differently where his appearance in the second act when Almaviva enters the stage as a pretended  music teacher and cover for the origin music teacher Don Basilio. Likewise Don Basilio, were Almaviva dressed in a long black leather coat and imitated an ageing rocker. His aria pace e gioia sia con vio! did he not sung in a nicely operatic way but screamed it; another hilarious detail in this production. The actual music teacher Don Basilio was performed by Tijil Faveyts. He was an unagitated character whose best years were definitely over. Faveyts showed this attitude with a straight and calm singing and great legatos. His employer Don Bartolo were sung by Baurzhan Anderzhanov. Superb amusing were his mimicry of Rosina. With lightness and great expression in his voice gave Anderzhanov an agitated Bartolo; totally in contrast to Basilio. Generally every single character had its precise unique character which enhanced all the performance and underlined the theatric character of this opera buffa.
The Essener Philharmoniker under the conducting of Giacomo Sagripanti played accurate and precise in partly quicker and partly slower speed as common. The choir of Aalto-Theater (rehearsal: Patrick Jasolka) integrated nicely in the tumultuous scenes.
For this interesting interpretation of Rossini’s opera hit in the box and the strong cast, I give 7 out of 10 stars.
Reviewed by Christine Arnold

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