* Notes *
Coline Serreau's 2002 production of Il barbiere di Siviglia (second half of Act I pictured left, photograph by Christian Leiber) opened Thursday night at Opéra national de Paris. Conducted by Marco Armiliato, the orchestra floated in the overture, but was somewhat loud at times. The members of the chorus were clear, and moved well in the choreography.
The principals are all fine actors. Carlo Cigni's Basilio is funny, as is Maurizio Muraro's Bartolo. The latter has an imposing command of patter. Tassis Christoyannis is an amusing Figaro, though his voice is not exceptional. Karine Deshayes started off rather darkly as Rosina, and showed a nice agility as the evening progressed. Antonino Siragusa is an appealing Almaviva, his bell-like tone is pretty. He was occasionally difficult to hear.
The Moorish set from Jean-Marc Stehlé and Antoine Fontaine, with matching costumes from Elsa Pavanel, is elaborate. The direction tended toward camp and silliness. This seemed to delight the majority of the audience, though someone did boo forcefully when Serreau appeared for her ovation.
* Tattling *
It seemed many people seated around us on the parterre level did not have command of either the Italian of the opera or the French of the supertitles. There were whispered explanations for much of the first act.
Football was referenced in the last aria, and for some reason, this provoked much flash photography.