Monday, March 21, 2011

Rossini - Il Barbiere di Siviglia – Claudio Abbado, Chamber Orchestra of Europe

Who says opera is boring, long and stuffy ? Giacomo Rossini knew what treasure he had in his hands when he composed what is considered the most popular comic opera- The Barber Of Seville.
It is based on the eighteenth century French satire by Beaumarchais, a comedy of manners revolving a witty, clever barber named Figaro who helps a scheming count win the hand of a beautiful woman. Set in Spain, but obviously a parody of French upper classes, the stories were controversial during ther time. Figaro wasPortrait of Gioachino Rossini in 1820 a man ahead of his time and the class differences seem to pose no problem nor does the subtle attack on the bourgeoisie. In Mozart's time, the play was banned in France in the wake of the French Revolution. But it was not until the first half of the 19th century that Rossini popularized the classic comedy and brought it to life through vibrant melody and tongue-in-cheek comedy. The Barber Of Seville would be his most famous opera.
In this recording, Placido Domingo portrays the hopelessly romantic count. The role is perfectly suited for his voice and dramatic persona. His comedic flair is expressive in this particular opera, although never straying from the romanticized tenor-hero qualities his lyric voice is famous for. As always, Placido Domingo makes a great performance, and eventhough this is a studio recording, one can imagine how gifted a stage actor he truly is.
Kathleen Battle makes a youthful and energetic performance as Rosina. Rosina's character was originally written for mezzo soprano and this recording acknowledges that. Nevertheless, Rosina's soprano qualities have attracted various divas- from Maria Callas, Joan Sutherland to Beverly Sills. Kathleen does the role justice, not only is her voice incredibly rich and melodic, but tuned with the character of an, a petulant, sheltered woman who learns to love. Lopardo lends his talent as the smart-talking, quick-witted barber Figaro, whose opening aria has been made famous in television and the movies- "Largo Al Factotum" in which he describes the hectic life of a barber, reaching a comedic climax in his three shouts of "Figaro! Figaro! Figaro!". The rest of the cast is superb, most notably Raigerro Raimondi as Dr. Bartolo, who has custody of Rosina and teaches her music lessons. His baritone voice is unique, dramatic and in this case, very amusing.
Rousing choruses, ensembles and duets make this opera one of the most beloved of comic operas. It is a pastry to be consumed with delight as well as rich "bel canto" opera. To follow the story more closely, be sure to listen to this opera first and then continue with Mozart's "Le Nozze Di Figaro" which is actually the sequel, further accounts of Figaro, the Count and Rosina.
Performed by Chamber Orchestra Europe
with Frank Lopardo, Carlos Chausson, Lucio Gallo, Gabriele Sima, Ruggero Raimondi, Placido Domingo, Ronald Schneider, Goran Simic, Kathleen Battle, Goran Sollscher
Conducted by Claudio Abbado
flac, covers


  1. First of all, I'd like to congratulate you on your blogs. They're really interesting.
    Then, I would like to say that in this recording the Count is played by Frank Lopardo. Placido Domingo is Figaro, the barber.

  2. Indeed... honestly I forget to change the review.

  3. First- you have an excellent blog, thank you very much.

    In this new upload to FS, it is saying that the file is corrupted. I tried it twice.

  4. Here's a repaired (and working) version of part 1.


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