Rossini’s ‘Barber of Seville’ opens tomorrow for run at the capital’s Olympia Theater

A masterpiece of cheerfulness and wit and an admirable example of musical improvisations, Rossini’s famous opera «The Barber of Seville» will open at the Greek National Opera’s Olympia Theater tomorrow. The work was completed in just 24 days. The composer wrote the «Italian Girl in Algiers» in 18 days and «Cinderella» in just one month, while, when he was given a 40-day deadline for «Semiramis,» he considered it a great luxury and completed it in 33. When informed of how quickly Rossini finished «The Barber of Seville,» Donizetti is rumored to have commented that he was not surprised, «He was always a slow composer.» Rossini composed «The Barber» at the age of 24, upon a commission by Rome’s Argentina Theater. The opera’s premiere on February 5, 1816 was a complete failure, not because of the music but because the theater was flooded by admirers of composer Paisiello, who had written an opera with the same theme in 1782. Nonetheless, Rossini’s «Barber» quickly gained international success and is one of the most popular operas today. Directed by Themis Sermie, the National Opera production features conductor Chryssanthos Alissafis and interpreters Aris Argyris, Haris Andrianos, Antonis Koroneos, Nikos Stefanou, Vassiliki Karayianni and others. The sets and costumes are by Polytimi Machaira. Performances have been scheduled for Friday to Sunday, as well as May 10, 11, 14 and 15. The Olympia Theater is situated at 59 Academias, tel 210.361.2461/364.3725.