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<<  -- 4 --  Robert Hugill    A MODERN STYLE

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The cast was completed by Susan Jiwey's amusing Berta and Ian Wilson-Pope's hard-working Ambrogio.

The opera was performed in David Parry's English version. The cast's diction was excellent so that the drama was really propelled by the words. At times the translation seemed overly colloquial and jokey, but this fitted in with the modern style of the production.

John Beswick conducted an admirable band of seventeen, who provided a fine, crisp accompaniment. The string sound was unapologetically lithe rather than lush, but the band was expressive and provided fine accompaniment. My only complaint was in the decision to use harpsichord for the recitative, surely an anachronism. If the company did not feel brave enough to use a modern piano then perhaps it should have experimented with using a cello and double bass as often happened in Italian theatres.

From left to right: Andrew Conley (Fiorello), Susan Jiwey (Berta), Nicholas Sharratt (Almaviva), Serena Kay (Rosina), Freddie Tong (Don Bartolo),Lucasz Jkobczyk (Don Basilio) and Ian Wilson-Pope (Ambrogio). Photo © 2006 Alistair Muir
From left to right: Andrew Conley (Fiorello), Susan Jiwey (Berta), Nicholas Sharratt (Almaviva), Serena Kay (Rosina), Freddie Tong (Don Bartolo),Lucasz Jkobczyk (Don Basilio) and Ian Wilson-Pope (Ambrogio). Photo © 2006 Alistair Muir

For all its cartoonish elements, the production possessed a sophistication and joie de vivre which is so often lacking in productions of Rossini's popular but tricky opera.

Copyright © 24 September 2006 Robert Hugill, London UK

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Pimlico Opera's UK tour of Rossini's The Barber of Seville continues with performances in London (Sunday 24 September), Kendall (Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27 September), Bracknell (Friday 29 September), South Shields (Thursday 5 October), Berwick upon Tweed (Saturday 7 October), Newcastle-under-Lyme (Monday 9 October), Hexham (Friday 13 October), Exmouth (Sunday 15 October), Bristol (Tuesday 17 October), Doncaster (Wednesday 25 October) and Huddersfield (Thursday 26 October 2006). Further details from Grange Park Opera.

Previous M&V reviews of Grange Park Opera performances include L'Elisir d'Amore, Thaïs, Maria Stuarda, Wonderful Town, The Enchantress, Iolanthe, The Turn of the Screw and Anything Goes.

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