Let’s Go to the Opera: Great Performances at the Met on PBS
By: Ellis Nassour
The Met’s acclaimed production of Rossini’s classic comic gem Il Barbiere di Siviglia, featuring some of the most instantly recognizable melodies in all of opera, returns to PBS and Great Performances at the Met on Sunday, March 22 at 12:30 P.M. on THIRTEEN in a staging by Bartlett Sher (LCT’s The King and I, South Pacific).
Cesare Sterbini’s Italian libretto was based on Pierre Beaumarchais’ 1775 Figaro trilogy of plays. The opera premièred under the title Almaviva, o sia L’inutile precauzione in1816 at Rome’s Teatro Argentina.
Rossini’s Barbiere has proven to be one of the greatest masterpieces of opera buffa and, even after 200 years, remains one of opera lovers
The cast is headlined by Lawrence Brownlee as the love-struck Count Almaviva; Isabel Leonard as the coquettish and cunning Rosina, the feisty ward who captures his heart; and Christopher Maltman in his first Met performances of Figaro, the title barber whose skills extend far beyond the tonsorial.
Maurizio Muraro co-stars as Dr. Bartolo, with Paata Burchuladze as Don Basilio.
Michele Mariotti is conducting the Met orchestra in the three-hour broadcast, which will be hosted by soprano Deborah Voigt.
The New York Times noted "Ms. Leonard is a winsome, spunky Rosina among an energetic cast. Rossini’s music is effervescent." One of the production’s highlights is Michael Yeargan’s spinning set.
Beaumarchais’plays are the source for both Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. Barbiere is the prequel to Mozart’s opera. The two share common characters, with the barber Figaro of Rossini’s as the one married in Mozart’s; Rossini’s feisty Rosina will become the long-suffering countess of Mozart’s; and the romantic Count Almaviva of Rossini’s will become Mozart’s jealous Count.
Matthew Diamond directs the telecast, with Jay David Saks as music producer. Mia Bongiovanni and Elena Park are supervising producers, with producers Louisa Briccetti and Victoria Warivonchik. Met GM Peter Gelb is exec producer. Bill O’Donnell is Great Performances series producer, with David Horn as exec producer.
Corporate support for Great Performances at the Met is provided by Toll Brothers, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Irene Diamond Fund, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, the Agnes Varis Trust, and public television viewers like you.