Published18 Aug 2014
Opera Philadelphia Opens 2014-2015 Season with a New Production of Rossini’s comic masterpiece The Barber of Seville
Five Performances at the Academy of Music, Sept. 26 – Oct. 5. Plus, a FREE, HD Opera on the Mall Broadcast on Saturday, Sept. 27
Philadelphia, PA: Opera Philadelphia opens its 40th Anniversary Season in grand fashion this September, with a New Production of The Barber of Seville. Rossini’s comic masterpiece will be presented in five performances at the Academy of Music, Sept. 26 through Oct. 5, with a FREE HD broadcast on a giant screen at Independence National Historical Park on Saturday, Sept. 27.
A classic opera widely considered to be the funniest work in the canon, The Barber of Seville has been staged all over the world, spoofed by the likes of Bugs Bunny, Woody Woodpecker, and Homer Simpson, and beloved by generations who know the score by heart or simply know the famous “Figaro! Figaro! Figaro!” of the Barber’s aria, “Largo al factotum.”
“This stunning new production is the ideal grand opera to launch our celebratory 40th Anniversary Season,” said David B. Devan, General Director and President of Opera Philadelphia. “The great composer Giuseppe Verdi, who knew a thing or two about writing large-scale masterpieces, once called Barber ‘the most beautiful opera buffa there is.’ Director Michael Shell and his creative team have designed a vibrant production that recalls the comic films of Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar and showcases the talents of an incredible cast of singers.”
Rossini’s rapid-fire romp kicks off with a famous overture and veers into a hilarious series of misadventures and mistaken identities. Determined to win the heart of the beautiful, strong-willed Rosina (Jennifer Holloway, in her role and company debuts) with charm and wit—rather than nobility and wealth—Count Almaviva (tenor Taylor Stayton) enlists the help of a wily barber (baritone Jonathan Beyer) to steal her away from her lecherous guardian, Dr. Bartolo (bass Kevin Burdette).
The New York Times has hailed Curtis Institute of Music graduate Jonathan Beyer for his “robust voice” that “made every word a living presence.” Beyer, who made his Opera Philadelphia debut as Escamillo in a 2011 production of Puccini’s Carmen, stars as Figaro, a role he has performed with Boston Lyric Opera and Lyrique-en-Mer, among others. Lauded by Opera News for the “many colors to her thrilling mezzo,” Jennifer Holloway makes her Opera Philadelphia debut as Rosina, a role she will sing for the first time. This past season, she earned rave reviews for her English National Opera debut as Orlofsky in Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus. Recent seasons included returns to Pittsburgh Opera as Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and to the Metropolitan Opera as Tebaldo in Verdi’s Don Carlos.
Academy of Vocal Arts graduate Taylor Stayton, “deserving to be numbered on the short list of Rossini all-stars” (Opera Today), is one of the most sought-after tenors of his generation. Last season saw Stayton’s debut at the Deutsche Oper Berlin as Almaviva in The Barber of Seville, a role that he premiered with Opéra de Lille and reprised with Nashville Opera. Bass Kevin Burdette, last seen as the Prophet/King in 2012’s East Coast Premiere of Nico Muhly’s Dark Sisters, brings his “firm and sonorous” bass (Opera News) to the role of Doctor Bartolo.
The Barber of Seville launches an outstanding anniversary season of opera that blends classics like Verdi’s Don Carlo and Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos with two outstanding new American operas: the East Coast Premiere of Oscar by Theodore Morrison and John Cox; and the World Premiere of Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD by Daniel Schnyder and Bridgette Wimberly. “It is a season of unprecedented artistic quality,” said David Devan, “exemplified by the great singing you will hear in The Barber of Seville and from the many stars who will come to our stages throughout the year, including David Daniels, Heidi Stober, and William Burden in Oscar; Eric Owens, Dimitri Pittas, Leah Crocetto, and Michelle DeYoung in Don Carlo; and Lawrence Brownlee, Angela Brown, and Tamara Mumford in Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD.”
In addition to five performances at the Academy of Music with tickets starting at just $19, the season kicks off once again with a FREE, public, big-screen Opera on the Mall broadcast at Independence National Historical Park. Join Opera Philadelphia at this FREE, HD screening on Saturday, September 27 (6:00 p.m. pre-show; 7:00 p.m. broadcast). Registration for free tickets is required – visit operaonthemall.org to register.
The Barber of Seville
Music by Gioacchino Rossini
Libretto by Cesare Sterbini
Performed in Italian with English supertitles
A New Co-Production with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
September 26, 28m, October 1, 3 & 5m, 2014
Academy of Music
Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays at 8:00 p.m.; Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m.
Tickets to The Barber of Seville at the Academy of Music are now on sale, and may be purchased at operaphila.org or by calling 215.893.1018.
FREE tickets to Opera on the Mall: The Barber of Seville will be available beginning Wednesday, September 3, at operaonthemall.org.