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Il barbiere di Siviglia in Naples


To be back at my beloved Teatro di San Carlo in Naples and, what is more, with Il barbiere di Siviglia is pure delight.

Conducting what is perhaps the best-loved opera buffa in the repertoire is always a challenge. The dramaturgical and musical complexity of this masterpiece is almost “hidden” by the immediacy with which it is received and enjoyed by audiences. I’ve been exploring this treasure by Rossini for almost twenty years and each time I discover new ideas, always aware that bringing out the work’s dazzling beauty requires an excellent orchestra and chorus, singer/actors who can perform acrobatics but never just for the sake of it, stage set and direction that never give way to the temptation of cheap comedy, which would almost certainly turn into vulgarity, something that couldn’t be further from the great elegance of Il barbiere.

There is all the more reason for thinking this because here at the Teatro San Carlo we’re reviving a memorable production which first came into being at this theatre in 1998 thanks to the creativity of stage director Filippo Crivelli, set designer Lele Luzzati and costume designer Santuzza Calì,  To quote Crivelli, who passed away last February in his native Milan after a busy career during which he gave so much to opera, “We offer a version of Rossini that is not at all grotesque, is entertaining without being excessively so, in which comedy does not descend into farce, the recitatives are treated and performed like prose, and the objects and furniture created by Luzzati contribute to creating situations that are absurd but never meaningless”. I would like to make his words my own and add that it is only possible to see Il barbiere in this way if the singers are up to the task. Here I could ask for nothing better, with the excellent voices and theatrical credibility of Xabier Anduaga, Carlo Lepore, Jessica Pratt, Davide Luciano and Riccardo Fassi.