CULTURE

‘The Barber of Seville’ at the National Opera

An admirable work of joy, intelligence and musical improvisation, Gioachino Rossini?s ?The Barber of Seville? opened at the Greek National Opera?s Olympia Theater on February 5. This new production by the Greek National Opera is directed by Anastasia Vareli.

Rossini was just 24 years of age when he was commissioned by the Teatro Argentina in Rome to compose ?The Barber of Seville.? The work?s world premiere on February 20, 1816, turned into a spectacular fiasco, however, not due to the young composer?s score, but to the fact that the theater had been inundated by fans of Rossini?s rival Giovanni Paisiello, who had also composed an opera with the same title in 1782. Nevertheless, the following evening, the public was back in the theater and applauded Rossini?s efforts with typical Italian fervor. Ever since that night, ?The Barber of Seville? has been part of the pantheon of opera?s most popular works.

Written by Cesare Sterbini, the libretto is based on Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais?s comedy of the same title.

Whether disguised as an impoverished student or taking on the airs of a piano teacher, Count Almaviva is set on winning the heart of young Rosina. The latter lives in confinement at the residence of her guardian, who also wishes to marry her. After overcoming a series of obstacles (and amusing situations), the count and the young woman manage to validate their wedding vows. Their happiness, though, owes much to the invaluable aid of the inventive Figaro.

While maestros Giorgos Petrou and Alexis Agrafiotis alternate in the direction of the NGO?s orchestra and choir, the production?s costumes and set design are the work of Kenny MacLellan. Antonis Koroneos and Vassilis Kavagias alternate as Almaviva, Dionisios Sourbis and Haris Andrianos as Figaro, and Anna Agathonos, Vassiliki Karagianni and Artemis Bogri as Rosina.

Following the work?s premiere, more performances have been scheduled for February 9, 11, 13, 16, 18, 19, 20, 23, 25 and 26.

National Opera, Olympia Theater, 59-61 Academias, tel 210.361.2461. For reservations, call 210.3662.100 or visit www.nationalopera.gr.