Wiederaufnahme Idomeneo
SF Chronicle Review of Barbiere

Opening of Il Barbiere

Barbiereopening2006* Notes *
A revival of Johannes Schaaf's Il Barbiere di Siviglia production from 2003 opened last night on Halloween. Hans Dieter Schaal's set looked as white and stark as ever, the centerpiece being a German fantasy of the Barbie Malibu Dream House, which Thomas May describes as "Bauhaus inflected." The scene changes do go quite smoothly as the set turns. The construction site complete with manhole and barrier with blinking light in Act I was a bit gratuitous, at least it was off to the right from the orchestra.

Perhaps I'm missing something, but Nathan Gunn's voice is not spectacular. The baritone does cut a nice figure as Figaro, but his voice is a bit light and languid. Mezzo Allyson McHardy (Rosina) has a dark tone, strong, but some of her arpeggios were muddy. I liked her very much as Olga in Eugene Onegin, and it was interesting to hear her as the lead this time around. John Osborn (Count Almaviva) is possibly the loudest tenor we've had all season, he has a good deal of vibrato, which perhaps makes his intonation less than perfect. Baritone Bruno de Simone (Dr. Bartolo) enunciated well, his parlando parts were all clear. Baritone Eugene Brancoveanu sang well as Fiorello, and he also was the Sargeant, but there isn't much singing for the latter. His voice has a notable resonance that Gunn's lacks.

* Tattling *
A young man was whispering into his cellular phone in standing room during the overture. After he was done with his call, he tried to go to his seat in the orchestra, but the usher would not allow him in. He argued with her for a bit, then tried the usher at the center aisle, who also did not allow him to take his seat.

There weren't that many costumes this year, sadly. The house was not full either.

* Overheard *
The third and fourth people in the standing room line told the house manager that his absence at the final performance of Rigoletto was sorely missed, as there were many people in line and much chaos. They also expressed their disapproval of latecomers who talked in standing room, and the house manager assured them that they were working on having the opera on screens in the lobby.