Barber of Seville comes to Pacific Opera Victoria this Month

Pacific Opera Victoria’s 2015-16 season continues with Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, inspired by the popular French play by Beaumarchais.

In The Barber of Seville, Count Almaviva and Rosina have fallen in love and will allow nothing to stop them from getting married. Almaviva follows Rosina to Seville, where he runs into his former servant Figaro, who is now a barber with a booming business. Almaviva hires Figaro to help him rescue Rosina from the clutches of her crotchety old guardian, Dr. Bartolo, who has designs on her himself. The enterprising trio devise an arsenal of tricks to outwit Bartolo, proving that the road to true love is paved with theft, lies, bribery, brawling – and wicked comedy.

With its byzantine plot twists and irresistible, earworm-inducing music, Rossini’s rollicking farce is an exuberant conspiracy on behalf of youth, hope, and the delirious joy of first love.

Clarence Frazer makes his POV debut as Figaro, a role he performed previously with the Canadian Opera Company. Antonio Figueroa (POV’s Così fan tutte) and Sylvia Szadovszki (POV’s Carmen) return as Count Almaviva and Rosina, with Peter McGillivray (POV’s Albert Herring) as Dr. Bartolo, and Giles Tomkins (POV’s Lucia di Lammermoor) as Don Basilio. Geneviève Lévesque makes her company debut as Berta. The cast includes an all-male Pacific Opera Victoria chorus.

One of Canada’s most celebrated directors and playwrights, Morris Panych returns to Victoria to direct THE BARBER OF SEVILLE. Panych is a two-time winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama and has collected 14 Jessie Richardson Awards and five Dora Mavor Moore Awards. Panych’s real-life and collaborative partner, Ken MacDonald, has designed the set for this production. MacDonald began his career as resident designer for the Belfry Theatre and has since designed for all of Canada’s major theatre companies. He has garnered a Gemini, 17 Jessie Richardson Awards, a Betty Mitchell Award, and two Dora Mavor Moore Awards.

In their first opera project for POV, in 2012, Panych and MacDonald created a moody, stylized Macbeth, which became a co-production with Opéra de Québec and was subsequently staged at Kentucky Opera. They have taken a more traditional approach to BARBER, but have introduced moments of magic and an all-white Gaudi-inspired set that invites colourful mayhem.

POV Artistic Director, Timothy Vernon, will conduct the Victoria Symphony. He describes Rossini’s score as “a sheer delight”. One of the glories of bel canto, it’s easy on the ear and brimming with tuneful vocal flourishes.

The creative team also includes award winning costume designer Dana Osborne, who worked with Panych and MacDonald on POV’s Macbeth and has designed for the Stratford Festival and Soulpepper, among others. Lighting designer Kim Purtell (POV’s Ariadne auf Naxos) has credits across Canada, including the Stratford and Shaw Festivals.

Showings and Tickets:
February 11, 13 and 19, 2016, at 8 pm, and Wednesday, February 17 at 7 pm, with a matinee Sunday, February 21 at 2:30 pm. Pre-performance lectures take place in the theatre lobby one hour prior to each show. The opera is performed in Italian with English subtitles.

Tickets are available from the Royal and McPherson Box Office at 250-386-6121, or online at


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