4 Performances Only: February 6, 9, 12 & 14
The world’s most celebrated barber is coming to the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, but haircuts aren’t the only thing on his mind. Opera Colorado presents Rossini’s lively comedy The Barber of Seville for four performances, February 6 through 14.
The performances feature some of the best and brightest of today’s opera stars, including baritone Lucas Meachem in the title role and mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard singing the role of Rosina. Directed by veteran David Gately and featuring the Colorado Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leonardo Vordoni, the cast also includes Brian Stucki as the love-struck Count Almaviva, Thomas Hammons as curmudgeonly Dr. Bartolo and Wayne Tigges as Rosina’s music teacher Basilio.
“Barber is a very light-hearted funny evening,” said director David Gately. “The music is bubbly and champagne-like when you listen to it. And it is very recognizable for an audience so that’s part of the fun. Immediately when the overture starts, there’s a murmur across the audience and people realize they know it, they heard it in a shaving commercial or something. They all know ‘Figaro, Figaro, Figao’ and they all know the Bugs Bunny cartoons.”
Gately is very familiar with audience reaction to The Barber of Seville. The Opera Colorado production will be the thirty-first time that Gately has directed the beloved classic. However, no matter how many times he’s seen or directed the opera, Gately always finds new challenges in the work. “It’s hard work every time,” he says. “You can’t phone it in, it’s always complicated. For me, when I sit in the audience and watch them react, that’s what it’s about. I want to challenge them to listen and pay attention. I don’t really have a favorite moment after hearing it this many times but I do enjoy listening to an audience respond to what’s happening on stage and seeing what bits of characterization are understood.”
Gately says that every time he directs the opera, he learns something new from the performers he is working with. Like many great comedians who refine their stand-up routines over years, perfecting every detail, Gately has honed his interpretation of the opera over time. “If you saw the first one I did at the Lake George Opera Festival in 1977 and then you saw Opera Colorado’s performance, you might see some similarities. Yet much has changed because so many artists have brought their ideas to me and some of that has stuck with me.”
Costumes for this production are designed by Anna Björnsdotter. The set was designed by John W. Stoddard and comes from Canadian Opera Company. Lighting is designed by Mark J. Gabriel DeBell.
The Barber of Seville plays at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House February 6, 9, and 12 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, February 14 at 2:00 pm.