Home SF Bay Area The Barber of Seville, 2/12-2/27 – Opera

The Barber of Seville, 2/12-2/27 – Opera

by TerriAnn

Have you ever been to an opera? I mean a full-on, sung in a foreign language, orchestra-accompanied opera? I have now. Saturday (2/12) was the opening performance of “The Barber of Seville” at Opera San Jose. My family and I were able to get our first taste of this musical art.

The California theatre, by the way, was very misleading. Though the grand entrance sits in the middle of normal city block, a beautiful theatre is inside. I was amazed at the ambiance and sheer detail within. Plus, it was huge!

People generally dress up a bit for such a show, especially on opening night, but there was a wide range of clothing. Some were fully decked out in tuxedos and taffeta while others were more casual. It all came down to the full experience of the evening.

The Barber of Seville was sung completely in Italian. There was a screen near the top of the stage that contained the translation (supertitles) which really came in handy. The program began with spotlight on the orchestra pit. Many familiar tunes were played as the mood was set to immerse ourselves in Rossini’s world.

The actors were very talented. We had the privilege of watching the ‘A’ cast featuring Betany Coffland, Michael Dailey, Krassen Karagiozov, Isaiah Musik-Ayala, Silas Elash, Tori Grayum, and Anders Froehlich. Their voices were beautiful and flowed smoothly. What really impressed me was the strength and control in their delivery. The acting really came to life with expressive facial features and emphatic gestures. There were traits in each character that made it easy to identify with and you could sympathize with where they were coming from. There were subtle bits of humor that had my daughter chuckling here and there.

A young, wealthy count falls in love with a woman he saw in the balcony. He enlists the help of a barber, named Figoro, who prides himself in being good at most everything. He sings about it in the famous song about him. The girl, though, is in the care of a doctor that wants to marry her himself. The girl, Rosina, is not an innocent lamb and helps to create a rouse to secure her love.

The Barber of Seville is a wonderful opera to take your whole family to. You many want to make sure your children are old enough to read fairly well so they can try to follow along. There is a lot humor and physical acting that will keep them entertained. To add to your enjoyment, it a good idea to make sure everyone reads the synopsis first or at least goes into the show knowing the basic storyline. There were a couple bits that I was not sure of (what’s with the carrot?!) but my family all had a good time. Who knows? Maybe you’ll have a future opera-lover on your hands!

Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary tickets to facilitate this review, which contains 100% my honest opinion.

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PSK February 15, 2011 - 5:29 pm

The carrots are a tribute to Bugs Bunny. Google “Rabbit of Seville” and you should be able to find YouTube videos of the old cartoon.

Cookies & Clogs February 15, 2011 - 7:20 pm

Ah-ha! I remember that! Thank you 🙂

Caryn February 15, 2011 - 11:48 pm

Loved your review! We stumbled into Opera San Jose’s performance of Marriage of Figaro last year and now Opera SJ’s performances are at the center of our homeschooling … it is all in there somewhere.

Cookies & Clogs February 16, 2011 - 8:54 am

Thank you. That’s a great idea to use the opera as a stepping stone for other lessons! With rich history, storytelling, cultural references, etc. I can imagine it can make for a great project.

Caryn February 16, 2011 - 10:12 am

Glad to know about your terrific blog. 🙂 Opera works beautifully for us — we don’t follow a curriculum so having the structure of the regular Opera SJ (and Ballet SJ too) performances gives me a “spine” to work from. All roads seem to lead to and from opera, ballet and all the old stories and myths. By following our passions for stories — from every culture — we seem to be able to soak up what we need to know. Hope it keeps working because we are so very happy.

Cookies & Clogs February 16, 2011 - 12:22 pm

Wow, that really gives me much more insight into the world opera. I was under the impression it was just a different form of entertainment. Amazing that you can use it as such a valuable teaching tool.

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