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Does the world need another Il Barbiere di Siviglia? Maybe not, and probably not this one: a film of Laurent Pelly’s production for the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, which didn’t once raise a smile from me. Pelly’s aesthetic is strong and this Barbiere is set within giant sheets of music, the cast all in black. It looks stylish and witty, until you realise that’s it for the duration. He has cut back on over-exaggerated farce, and essentially replaced it with under-exaggerated farce; it’s a lame duck, but the cast throws itself into it with great gusto. Florian Sempey has a rumbustious baritone suited to Figaro, Peter Kálmán booms as Bartolo and Robert Gleadow is a detailed Basilio. Catherine Trottmann and Michele Angelini make an attractive and vivacious Rosina and Almaviva: her mezzo is rather anonymous and there is an air of effi ciency about her performance, while his tenor is fluent and he triumphs over every hurdle the role presents. Perhaps most interesting is Jérémie Rhorer’s conducting, using period instruments. The sound is leaner and sharper and has pace.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica


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