On Saturday I went to the Vancouver Opera’s opening night of The Barber of Seville. Now, I love going to the opera. Not only because I love the operatic voices, but also because I love the experience that comes with going to the opera. I usually get there a half-hour early, have a drink, and watch as the audience members walk in all dressed up (some in ball gowns and tuxes, even) — a rare occurrence in Vancouver. It’s always a glorious evening.
And while The Barber of Seville did make me chuckle, and everyone else in the audience, I must admit (and it pains me to say so) but that this was my least favourite Vancouver Opera production I’ve seen.
I found the blocking (how the performances move across the stage) very awkward and distracting. Between the chaotic way the male extras ran around he stage in their underwear, to the tiny space used as Figaro’s barber shop, to how crowded it got up in Rosina’s dressing room, I felt the production to be a bit claustrophobic. I think that operatic sets should have the space and room for its performers’ big voices — which these performers did have.
I loved Joshua Hopkin’s (Figaro) beautiful baritone voice and I felt like jumping up and cheering after he sang “Figaro”. I also really liked the steadiness in Thomas Hammons’ (Doctor Bartolo) voice as well as the sensuality that Mezzo-soprano Sandra Piques Eddy brought to Rosina’s songs.
All in all, it was a fantastic evening but I just wished there was less clutter and busyness to properly showcase the performers.
The Barber of Seville is on now until Sunday, March 25th (matinee). Check out this classic and enjoy the local opera experience yourself.