Rossini’s ‘Barber of Seville’ for a new generation of opera lovers

The Children’s Stage of the National Theater has turned into a seedbed of future opera lovers and performers. This season – once again under the guidance of Carmen Ruggeri – the troupe is staging one of the Italian repertoire’s most popular works, Gioacchino Rossini’s «Barber of Seville,» especially adapted for a young audience. Until March 2004, all performances reserved for schools are already sold out, while the play opened at the Acropol Theater last Sunday. «For us, this is a game, a masterpiece of musical improvisation,» said Ruggeri at a recent press conference. Ruggeri undertook the opera’s stage direction and text adaptation. She kept the orchestral parts, the vocal ensembles and the arias, all of which are necessary to maintain the children’s interest and enable them to appreciate opera. «We opted for the most melodic pieces, which will caress the kids’ ears…» she said at the press conference, adding that the pieces are linked with passages of narration and dialogue. «We try to come up with lively performances close to the composer’s spirit. Children are the most difficult audiences to please!» There is constant action on stage as the actors, singers and stage props are constantly changing. «It is a great responsibility to initiate children into classical music,» said Petros Gallias, Ruggeri’s assistant. At the National Opera the cast includes Erikos Briolas, Nikos Stefanou, Eleni Zioga and Christos Amvrazis, among others. Acropol – National Opera, 9-11 Ippocratous, tel 210.364.3700. Sundays at 11 a.m.