REVIEW: The Barber of Seville by Rossini, English Touring Opera at the Lyceum, Sheffield

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This production of the Barber of Seville really sparkles; it is sung with brilliance and is full of comic touches.

The costumes and set are traditional, set in Seville with the skyline of that city in changing lights as the action changes.

The soloists are all of high quality, beautifully balanced and with fine comic timing. Kitty Whitely, winner of last year’s Kathleen Ferrier Award, is a feisty Rosina with a lovely mezzo soprano voice. Nicholas Sharratt is outstanding as Count Almaviva with a brilliance and fluidity to his fine tenor. Andrew Slater, an able bass-baritone and stalwart of the ETO, is just right as the curmudgeonly Doctor Bartolo, determined to marry his beautiful ward. But love prevails and all ends happily. The Count reveals his true identity and marries Rosina and Figaro, sung for the first time tonight by Cosmine Sime, displays his talent and pockets his cash.

The male chorus is talented and versatile from midnight musicians to bearded ladies to assertive, then obsequious and then dancing policemen.

The opera is sung in English which is uniformly clear. There is no need for surtitles.

It is easy to see why The Barber of Seville is such a favourite comic opera. It is fast moving, funny and full of wonderful vocal display. English Touring Opera have certainly done it justice.

Unusually, English Touring Opera are performing this opera twice in Sheffield. I would recommend it for a good night out on Wednesday.