Opera Scotland

Barbiere di Siviglia 2011Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Barber of Seville

Scottish Opera's 2011-12 season was its fiftieth, with celebrations in order, though the tone was muted. There was a sense of relief that the company had survived recent turmoils, and the level of activity was much reduced. The full-scale productions began in the autumn with a revival of Thomas Allen's Barber of Seville staging. In the New Year there were new productions of Hansel and Gretel and The Rake's Progress, along with a welcome revival of the vintage Tosca production. In the absence of any invitation to play the main festival in 2011, the first item in the season was a staging on the Edinburgh Fringe of Weill's Seven Deadly Sins. This was followed by a third co-operation with Music Theatre Wales at the Traverse - the highly dramatic Greek. The autumn repertoire also had a medium scale tour of Orpheus in the Underworld. In January the Russian co-productions with the Conservatoire continued, with Prokofiev's Betrothal in a Monastery. There was also the expected Highlands and Islands concert party under the Opera Highlights label. In June, the company's 50th anniversary was celebrated with a single concert performance, well-cast, of those old stalwarts from days of yore, Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci.

Sir Thomas Allen's 2010 staging of Figaro was an unqualified success, beautifully cast, and full of subtleties derived from his many years experience of observing the great work from the inside. His earlier staging of the Barber in 2007 was good by any standards, to be expected when Figaro was the role of his own professional debut with Welsh National. But it was not quite on the same level, largely due to an unevenness in the casting. Fortunately, for the 2011 revival, Sir Thomas returned to redirect it, and the cast was more evenly balanced than previously - the Figaro reinforced the very positive impression he made in the David McVicar Così; the Almaviva and Bartolo both starred successfully in the gloriously outrageous Italian Girl, and were almost underplayed by comparison - not necessarily a bad thing. The Basilio and Berta were both successful scene-stealers, as these characters need to be. Perhaps a question-mark nowadays arises when Rosina is cast as a soprano. We have become so accustomed in recent decades to the restoration of the darker sound of the mezzo that a soprano can make the character seem to lack warmth. Fast and fizzing is certainly one way of conducting Rossini, and it works well within its limitations. But there is more depth and subtlety in the orchestration than that method generally reveals.

Performance Cast

Fiorello servant of the Count

Adam Miller

Count Almaviva a young nobleman

Thomas Walker

Figaro a barber

Ville Rusanen

Rosina Bartolo's ward

Claire Booth

Bartolo a doctor, Rosina's guardian

Tiziano Bracci

Ambrogio Bartolo's servant

Paul Anwyl

Don Basilio a singing teacher

Graeme Broadbent

Berta Bartolo's housekeeper

Teuta Koço


Adam Miller


Andrew Fraser

Performance DatesBarbiere di Siviglia 2011

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

21 Oct, 19.15 23 Oct, 16.00 25 Oct, 19.15 27 Oct, 19.15 29 Oct, 19.15

Eden Court Theatre | Inverness

3 Nov, 19.15 5 Nov, 19.15

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

10 Nov, 19.30 12 Nov, 19.30

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

15 Nov, 19.15 17 Nov, 19.15 19 Nov, 19.15

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