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George Petean, the Romanian baritone currently based at Hamburg State Opera, was quite a find as Figaro. His nice line in comedy rarely went over the top and was combined with a fine, robust attitude to Rossini's music. He even managed to bring off the character's costume -- stripy socks and shirt worn under dungarees with cut off trousers -- quite a feat indeed.

George Petean as Figaro. Photo © Bill Cooper
George Petean as Figaro. Photo © Bill Cooper

I think that Leiser and Caurier might have wanted us to view Figaro, Almaviva and Rosina as the only real people in the opera; Bartolo, Basilio and the rest of the cast (except for Almaviva's servant Fiorillo) all sported cartoon-like false noses.

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Copyright © 16 January 2006 Robert Hugill, London UK

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