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As Almaviva, Nicholas Sharratt had an attractive lyrical voice and a stage persona attractive enough to make you understand why Rosina was smitten with him. His character was a little foppish, but Sharratt and Christie did not fall into the trap of making Almaviva a complete idiot.

Sharratt sang the music with an attractive line and in the lyrical passages he was exemplary. Unfortunately I found his fioriture rather smudged and not as accurate as I would have like. But in this he is in good company as the same has applied to other, more distinguished tenors that I have heard in this tricky role.

As Figaro, James McOran-Campbell was impressive; he is possessed of a lovely resonant baritone voice which he uses admirably. His sense of line in this music was good and his way with the fioriture quite admirable. But more than his, he has a strongly attractive stage presence. His Figaro dominated the action without McOran-Campbell ever giving in to over-acting or excessive mugging.

Freddie Tong's Dr Bartolo was rather younger than we are used to, but this meant that the role was well sung by a young voice. Luckily Tong did not attempt to play old, so for once the opera did not have the stereotyped put upon old fool in the role. Instead, Tong concentrated on character and the opera became a genuine interplay between Bartolo, Almaviva, Rosina and Figaro. In this production Bartolo had become a medical doctor who seemed to practice acupuncture with some alarmingly long needles.

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Copyright © 24 September 2006 Robert Hugill, London UK


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