The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Barber of Seville

July 28th, 2013 · 3 Comments · Posted in Arts, Local events

Coming soon to our little opera house in Cambridge is Rossini’s Barber of Seville. Yesterday the public was invited to Hubbard Hall to hear two authorities tell the back story of the opera–young lovers who must overcome obstacles to be together–while cast members intermittently sang key selections.

Turns out the cast just met yesterday. Some have obviously played their roles before–in some cases numerous times. But others have only recently learned their parts. They come from all over the country, and ours being a rural area, they are lodging with area opera buffs who’ve opened their homes to them. They’ll be in rehearsal three weeks before the first performance Aug. 16.

Presented here is Figaro singing one of the most famous arias in all of opera.  Kind of funny to see him in street clothes. I recorded this on my iPhone and somehow got it sideways. Try turning your computer screen.

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  • Anonymous

    Very nice performance. Probably sou ds a lot better than that rooster you lost. Any word on him?

  • Ed Bruske

    I don’t normally approve anonymous comments, but since you ask, did you not see this post?

  • Upstate Blogger

    Cambridge,NY; August 24:
    Unqualified Success for HHOT Barbiere
    Rossini’s Barber has proven to be one of the greatest masterpieces of comedy within music, and has held its position as a masterpiece of musical comedy for 200 years. It is one of the few operas which still has its talons in popular culture, with Figaro resonating in modern sensibilities as the everyman who pulls all the strings.
    Hubbard Hall Opera Theater does great justice to the work. The direction of this production was spectacular. It was a Barbiere rich in detail with no rough edges. Stage director Andrew Nienaber showed what rehearsal time and an expert hand can do with talented comedic actors. The opera was, from beginning to end, legitimately hilarious, sending the audience into torrents of laughter.

    The crisp, polished overture prepared us for a special evening of opera. The 17 pieces played as an absolute unit under the complete control of conductor Maria Sensi Sellner. The tempi were brisk throughout, and Sellner supported the singers with sure hand, drawing incisive resonant playing in excellent balance with the singers. Huge marks go to the HHOT team for presenting the opera intact with well-prepared Italian recitative and still bringing it in at under three hours including intermission.

    Patrick McNally anchored the performance as a strong Figaro, possessing a beautiful and large lyric baritone that aggressively asserts itself in the hall. The young Abigail Levis and her warm and resonant mezzo voice was breathtaking as Rosina. She has the rare interpretive gift of using coloratura to highlight emotional truth rather than simply show off. Luke Grooms supplied plenty of belly laughs with his rollicking portrait of Almaviva, but seemed to struggle with aspirated coloratura and the excessive distracting addition of disconnected high-notes which did neither Rossini style, nor his beautiful instrument any favors. Andrew Adelsberger as Bartolo brought the audience to wild laughter with a purposely flat serenade of his ward, elsewhere unveiling a secure voice and superior buffo acting instinct. He was a pleasure to watch.

    Ryan Allen’s Basilio erupted onstage in beatnik garb with a bad toupee and one silver earring. He possesses a volcanic voice and unctuous presence to match his experienced comedic timing as Basilio. In Allen’s capable hands, (and with due credit to Director Neinaber presumably) “La Calunnia” (Gossip) is personified not as gust of wind, but rather as a dangerous man-eating hamster that Allen strokes and provokes as necessary. In another pleasantly unexpected bizarre twist, Director Neinaber stages an exit for Basilio where he is actually thrown off of the balcony, most likely a first in all of Barbiere history and a moment which earned great guffaws from the audience.

    Anneleise von Goerken as the frantic maid and Peter Subers who played a narceleptic butler proved comedic gold and, in fact, are local to the Cambridge area. Contrary to the expectations of small-town opera, the chorus (led by the multi-talented Fiorello of Nick Kilkenny whose unlisted credits also include guitar, triangle and bass drum apparently) added polish and fun to the show. Hubbard Hall may be small, but the grass-roots company run by Alexina Jones deftly uses its limited resources to put on authentic performances to sold out houses which affirms the viability and vivacity of budget opera.