Learn more Download now Shop now Browse your favorite restaurants Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more

VINE VOICEon 29 March 2013
This is my favourite 'Barber'. Has it ever been better performed? Not only does John Rawnsley sing the part of the barber to perfection, he also acts the part to perfection. Better still, this is how it is with the whole production, which is sung to perfection, acted to perfection and staged to perfection. One part of the staging I particularly liked was the view from Dr Bartolo's window. Dave Heather made an excellent job of directing this production for video.

You couldn't fault any of the singer-actors and the 'chemistry' between them could not have been better. The rapport between the actors is tangible. For instance, Max-Rene Cosotti as Count Almaviva and John Rawnsley's Figaro were obviously very much at home with each other. Claudio Dederi is just perfect as Dr Bartolo and Maria Ewing must surely go down as one of the all time greats as Rosina and I've never seen a better Basilo than that performed for us by Ferruccio Furlanetto. One of the pieces I always watch out for in this work is the solo sung by Berta the Maid and Catherine McCord, who is perfect for the part, didn't disappoint me.

What else can one say? You just can't fault it. In simple terms its just a case of: Glyndebourne does it again! As for the quality of the recording I can't really comment. As with all my DVDs and Blu-ray DVDs, it works perfectly on the equipment I have. Inevitably, there always something that can be picked out as not as good as it should be - picture quality and so on or sound - but I'm not aware of any that kind of thing here. But then, I have to say that I'm generally a happy, easy to please person not given to being driven up the walls by minor annoyances. The character of the Barber of Seville is a great role model. Beset as he is on all sides, he never lets anything get him down. And, believe me, his attitude works. This is great stuff. Buy and enjoy.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 21 September 2010
Once, a friend of Richard Wagner's (yes, he had a few) discovered him sitting in the shadows at the back of an opera house box watching "The Barber of Seville."

"How I love Rossini," said the great man, "but you must not tell my Wagnerites. They'd never forgive me."

This is a good-looking, bright, energetic and wholly entertaining production of opera's reigning comedic warhorse. If the singing is hardly likely to make hard-core fans throw away their recordings with Callas or Berganza, it is nevertheless perfectly respectable.

This is one of the all-too rare productions in which it appears that the stage director has bothered to read the text. Why, wonder of wonders, when young, lovesick Count Almaviva is supposed to be singing a serenade, the director actually has him do just that. And when Figaro, the town barber, is supposed to be shaving Dr Bartolo, the comic sort-of villain, he actually applies foamy shaving cream. Astonishing!

Maria Ewing sings pretty well as she manages to be strange-looking-but-beautiful-anyway, funny, indomitable and adorable all at once.

This is probably as good a DVD as you might hope to find for introducing a newbie to the mad, illogical and ultimately addictive world of opera.

Five stars.

One Amazon US reviewer has noted with dismay that Maria Ewing who sings Rosina is actually identified as a soprano, not as a mezzo-soprano for which the role was written. Be reassured. More than a few sopranos have succeeded as Rosina in the nearly two hundred years since "The Barber" was premiered. Rossini, himself, coached soprano Adelina Patti in the part. She scored a triumph. (She later became so famous that the barbershop standard "Sweet Adeline" was written in her honor.) Closer to our own time, a certain Greek-American lady named Callas had some success, too.
11 Comment| 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERon 23 November 2011
This is an early Bartoli performance and has a lighter touch than some of her more driven recent productions. This is all to the good. Her Rossini Cinderella benefits in much the same way. The rest of the cast are good too and this traditional performance works well. In particular Lloyd gives an absolutely unforgettable rendition of the 'scandal' aria.

However ... time has now passed by and this recording really does show its age, especially in less than sharp camera focus which shows up on in all shots other than close-up and the limited stereo sound track. It does not begin to compete with modern high definition sound or vision experienced via either DVD or even better, Blu-ray.

This would not be so vital if the more modern recordings were below par musically but this is no longer the case. There are two rivals I would suggest as being much better purchases nowadays - the Florez/Bayo offering (Blu-ray) and the Zurich production under Santi with a marvellous Kasarova (DVD) which would be my own personal top tip. Both of these alternatives offer excellent acting as well as singing and come with far more modern sound and vision.

I have supplied fuller reviews of the two alternatives mentioned above and which can be found listed under their respective details.

I would suggest that in these circumstances this current disc featuring the young Bartoli and a particularly fine 'scandal' aria by Lloyd, will mostly appeal to those for whom the recording quality is of no concern. For others there are now alternative fine performances in more modern recordings which many will now find preferable.
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 17 November 2014
I'm not sure that there are many of the top operas that are `feel good factor' operas ... but, this is definitely one of them.
This is a pleasure to watch and its production and players are also Brit's! Hooray!
I won't bore anyone with the plot. I would say immediately that Maria Ewing as the love interest, Rosina, was just brilliant - wonderful singing and great character acting. If you can't have a chuckle at her wonderful facial mannerisms then you really are past the point of no return.
John Rawnsley (Figaro & The Barber) was not far behind her and what a good character he was! It just seems odd that this was done some 30 years ago but looks totally fresh in every which way.
My only minus point would be that the 'disguised' characters and their scenes,were for me,a little unconvincing and not particularly funny. However, there were many fine moments - `The `Slander' scene was great with Furlanetto excelling in this role.
The sets were colourful & lavish, as were the costumes. For me this opera just reeks: pleasure & fun, a lovely evening in, nods of appreciation, smiles, etc. etc ...
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 23 November 2011
Rossini'is most popular opera, The Barber of Seville, tells the story of Count Almaviva (Max-Rene Cosotti)) who is in love with Rosina (Maria Ewing). Her bad tempered guardian Dr Bartolo (Claudio Desderi), wishes to marry her for her dowry. The count seeks the help of Figaro (John Rawnsley), a mischievous barber. Figaro suggests that the count should wear various amounts of disguises, to get close to Rosina, which results in hilarious consequences.

The genius of Rossini's composition is magnificent, fast and entertaining, it's immediately recognizable overture and it's lesser known pieces are equally as marvelous, keeping the viewers on the edge of their seats, with spellbinding effects.

Max-Rene Cosotti was wonderful as the count, his voice was light and skillful. His performance of the aria "Ecco ridente in cielo", which opens the opera (after the overture), sounded beautiful. There was something that annoyed me about him, which I cant quite place, but his singing was stunning.

Rosina was played by one of my favorite Mezzo Soprano's, the brilliant Maria Ewing. Her voice was beautiful, singing "Una voce poco fa" perfectly. Her funny over the top acting and jerky movements was completely fitting for the role in contrast to her dramatically played Carmen, which shows her versatile acting ability.

Claudio Desderi is also very good, playing Bartolo, with great energy and power in his voice.

However, the best performance was given by John Rawnsley, his voice was amazing, accompanied by hilarious facial expressions. His rendition of "Largo al factotum" was brilliant, his timing perfect and his movements excellently coordinated with the music. He is definitely one of the best Figaro's I have seen and heard.

The production is amazing, with great set designs and costumes. The London Philmonic Orchestra, conducted by Sylvain Cambreling, was phenomenal, along with the superb Glyndebourne Chorus, this was an excellent production and definitely worth purchasing.
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 27 April 2012
The opening village street is small tidy and excellent, the mottley crew of musicians gets us off to a good start, costumes are excellent and slightly amusing. Robert Deans Fiorello is a pleasing forerunner to Cossoti who has a pleasing light coloratura. When Rawnsley appears he proves to be an architype Figaro, he has a very expressive face and a good voice to boot.
When Maria Ewing appears on the balcony we have a brief taste of the vocal pleasures to come. I like the bit where Figaros shop appears and Almaviva gets his soldiers costume.
The act two set of Bartolos room is quite delightful, Maria Ewing expressing her emotions with eyes as well as voice. I have seen her in varied roles and she always seems to get to the root of the character.
Desderi is a stern self centered Bartolo, not portrayed as a comic figure as in some productions. I prefer his interpretation, he sits well in the part.
Furlanetto has a rich voice, I love his costume and his "slander" is one of the highlights.
The set for act three is again very good, I love the way Rossini makes a satisfying musical meal of " Buona Serra" in this act. It is well presented here.
I own four versions of Il Barbiere and Catherine McCord is by far the best Berta both in singing and acting, I should love to see and hear her in another role.
Watch out for the conversion of the room to the balcony, quite clever and subtle.
This is my favourite version, but Kasarova in the modernised Zurich version is very good, and Herman Prey in a stage filmed version from Alla Scala is not bad. The Met with Florez is passable but not my favourite by any means.
0Comment| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 2 April 2015
This DVD shows a lively skilful performance of this entertaining comic opera. I particularly liked John Rawnsley who plays Figaro with just the right amount of comic timing, energy, and affected guile. Ferruccio Furlanetto (what a fantastic name) is also very funny as Dr Basilio and has a beautiful bass voice. The heroine Rosina is played by Maria Ewing who has an excellent voice and looks right in the part. However I thought her acting was a bit intense at times with too much eye rolling. I would still have given it 5 stars except that the technical aspect of the film-making with shaky camera work sometimes and close ups from uncomfortable angles made this inappropriate. We have to make allowances however as this is probably because the DVD was made in 1982 when DVD making was not as refined or skilful as it is now. It remains a very enjoyable two and a half hours viewing if you like opera with a light tone and some wonderful tunes.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
VINE VOICETOP 1000 REVIEWERon 18 March 2011
This is very much a traditional production with nothing to scare the purists. It is filmed in a wholly conventional manner and is a recording of a live production dating from 1988. Overall, there is nothing here to astonish, but by the same token, there is nothing here to offend either. The orchestral playing is good and the singing and acting rather more so. The young Cecilia Bartoli is on top form as Rosina; nowadays I find her irritatingly mannered and at times like a bad parody of herself, but her singing here is wonderful in its flexibility and richness. The Figaro and Almaviva, Gino Quilico and David Kuebler, are not quite so such accomplished Rossinians, but they both sing and act well, especially the latter, who is one of the most amusing Counts I have seen. Robert Lloyd is a traditional Basilio who makes a great deal of "La calunnia", which quite rightly brings the house down; this is a great bass singer captured at the height of his powers. Carlos Feller's singing is rather parched and dry as Bartolo, but he is wholly convincing as the crotchety old lawyer, while Edith Kertész-Gabry makes much of little as Berta. If you want a good, honest, well-sung "Barber", then this is the one for you.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 12 November 2017
I am a lover of Rossini and this production is no exception. Excellent.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 25 September 2014
Famous Glyndebourne background. But disappointed by low quality sound and video shots. Realised it was early 80's production when VHS was still king. Not good by present day standards. Would have looked for more recent production version instead as price did not adjust for old tech or low quality.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)