San Francisco Opera’s fall season continues this evening with the opening at the War Memorial Opera House of Rossini’s opera buffa, Il Barbiere di Siviglia. This production is a revival of the vibrant and spirited 2013 staging by Spanish director Emilio Sagi, directed this season by Roy Rallo. Baritone Lucas Meachem returns in the title role, mezzo-soprano Daniela Mack is Rosina, tenor René Barbera is Count Almaviva, Italian baritone Alessandro Corbelli is Doctor Bartolo, and Italian bass Andrea Silvestrelli is Don Basilio. The San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus (Director Ian Robertson) are conducted by former Company Resident Conductor Giuseppe Finzi.
Gioachino Rossini’s two-act opera has an Italian libretto by Cesare Sterbini, which was based on Pierre Beaumarchais’s 1775 comedy Le Barbier de Séville. It was premiered on February 20, 1816, at the Teatro Argentina in Rome.
The opera tells of beautiful Rosina, the ward of Dr Bartolo, and the two suitors who desire her hand in marriage – Count Almaviva and Bartolo himself. Rosina has already fallen for the Count, following his serenade to her, and the town barber, Figaro – who knows all the secrets and scandals – sees an opportunity to make some money from Almaviva, hatching a plan for the Count to gain access to Bartolo’s house. The twists and turns of the plot are enough to confuse anyone, but carried along by some of the most popular music in the operatic repertoire, this wonderfully entertaining and enjoyable opera reaches its denouement with Almaviva and Rosina celebrating their marriage, Bartolo’s acceptance of defeat (for which he’s rewarded with Rosina’s dowry), and Figaro pocketing a handsome payment from the Count.
Lucas Meachem is a former San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow and alumnus of the Merola Opera Program, who most recently appeared for San Francisco Opera as Figaro in the 2013 production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia. He has also sung the title roles in Don Giovanni and Eugene Onegin for the Company, those of Fritz and Frank in Die Tote Stadt, of Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, and has appeared in La Forza del Destino, Billy Budd, Doktor Faust and The Magic Flute for Families. This season Lucas Meachem will be making role debuts as Giorgio Germont in La Traviata for Opera Birmingham, and Dr Malatesta in Don Pasquale for Palm Beach Opera. He also returns to the Théâtre Capitole de Toulouse as Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, and makes his house debut at the Semperoper Dresden in the title role of Don Giovanni.
Following Daniela Mack’s 2013 performance as Rosina for SF Opera, the San Francisco Chronicle wrote that she “sang with an irresistible combination of tonal luster and bravado, bringing energy and charm to her coloratura passages and delicate wit to her characterization”. Another former San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow and alumnus of the Merola Opera Program, Ms Mack made her Company debut as Lucienne in Die Tote Stadt, has also appeared as Idamante in Idomeneo, Siebel in Faust, as First Lay Sister in Suor Angelica, and she most recently appeared in San Francsico Opera’s premiere of Handel’s Partenope. During this season Ms Mack creates the role of Jacqueline Kennedy in the world premiere of JFK at the Fort Worth Opera, and debuts for Arizona Opera in the title role of Carmen.
René Barbera – an alumnus of San Francisco’s Merola Opera Program – is regarded as one of today’s rising young artists. At Placido Domingo’s Operalia 2011 in Moscow he was awarded First Prize for Opera, First Prize for Zarzuela, and the Audience Prize – the first artist to receive all three awards since the competition began in 1993. He made his debut with San Francisco Opera as Don Ramiro in the 2014 production of La Cenerentola, and appeared as Iopas earlier this year in Les Troyens. Prior to his appearance as Almaviva in this production, he has sung the role for Opéra Nationale de Paris, Los Angeles Opera, Teatro di San Carlo in Naples and Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera.
Alessandro Corbelli returns to San Francisco for this production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, having previously sung the role of Doctor Bartolo in the Company’s 2013 production. He first appeared for San Francisco Opera as Dulcamara in the 2008 production of L’Elisir d’Amore, a role which he has also performed in Leipzig and for Metropolitan Opera. Later this season, he will perform the role of Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola at Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera and the Vienna State Opera, and will return to the Metropolitan Opera as Dulcamara.
This season, Andrea Silvestrelli has already appeared for San Francisco Opera as Wurm in Luisa Miller, and a Night Watchman in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. In 1998, Mr Silvestrelli made his San Francisco Opera debut as Oroveso in Norma, and returned as Fasolt in Das Rheingold, Il Talpa in Il Tabarro, Simone in Gianni Schicchi in the Company’s production of Il Trittico, as Osmin in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, as Fasolt and Hagen in the 2011 Ring cycle, and as Sparafucile in Rigoletto. Later in the season he will also sing the Grand Inquisitor in Don Carlo.
San Francisco Opera’s production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia runs at the War Memorial Opera House for four more performances – November 29, December 1, December 5 and December 9. It is sung in Italian with English supertitles. Further information and tickets may be obtained from the San Francisco Opera website, and tickets are also available at 415 864 3330, and at the box office.
San Francisco Opera