The Barber of Seville

MICHAEL DRAKE Opera North at Norwich Theatre Royal

MICHAEL DRAKE

The “citizens” of the chorus set the stage before the overture and that was the essence of last night's Barber – entertainment.

The splendid orchestra conducted by Martin Fitzpatrick enjoyed Rossini's music to the full and perfectly complemented Giles Havergal's staging of this favourite opera from the rurally amusing serenading band to a stirring chorus.

Nicholas Sales' (Count Almaviva) easy English tenor was slightly reduced in the highest romantic stakes but his was a dashing performance in wooing Deanne Meek's Rosina – no wonder he fell in love – while Figaro (Garry Magee) was a delightful schemer with a warming voice, very well projected.

This staging, in the words of a Figaro/Count duet was “a marvel of invention” with all the language, if not demanding, easily understood.

This was particularly important when Eric Roberts as Don Bartolo, was centre stage and his timing and comedic performance had to be watched intently for fear of missing something.

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And Don Basilio (a Mikado in disguise?) was given great character by Mark Ashmore.

For the children, this production was such good fun and received a cheering ovation.

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