POV’s Barber of Seville takes audiences on a wild adventure

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Pacific Opera Victoria’s production of The Barber of Seville is a lively one. Figaro helps lovers Rosina and Almaviva outwit Rosina’s guardian Dr. Bartolo, who wants her for himself. True love takes work, and for these three that includes theft, lies, bribery, and brawling.

This wicked comedy is a joyous three hour romp with plot twists and fun, light-hearted music. Rossini’s farcical roller coaster of an opera is a great celebration of youth, hope, and love.

The sets and costumes mirrored this exuberance. The unique, moveable set design fit every moment and was awash with coloured lighting for each emotion. Dr. Bartolo’s (Peter McGillivray) golden coat was elaborate and matched his personality surprisingly well.

Dr. Bartolo had a standout performance, earning him many of the cheers and jests by the end. McGillivray captured the grumpy, constricting personality of his character effortlessly. The only scenes that matched his comedic might on stage were those with everyone together. Both Count Almaviva (Antonio Figueroa) and Rosina (Sylvia Szadovszki) had good performances as well, managing to capture their love and chemistry while together and apart.

The parallels between Count Almaviva’s Figaro (Clarence Frazer) and Dr. Bartolo’s Don Basilio (Giles Tomkins) as the string-pullers was equally entertaining. Figaro was presented as ringmaster of the production, sometimes actually seen above everyone, and setting them bouncing on their toes or heads moving from side to side, while Don Basilio was equally conniving but much less successful in his plots.

This entertaining production is a great continuation for the Pacific Opera this season. Visually stunning, and musically enchanting, I can’t wait to see how Midsummer Night’s Dream continues the trend in April.

The final performance is Sunday, February 21 at 2:30pm. 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 http://www.rmts.bc.ca.

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