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The Crack Magazine

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The Barber of Seville

Proper opera is back at Sage – it’s been a while but it will be returning in style with the combined forces of Royal Northern Sinfonia and Nevill Holt Opera performing the sublimely sprightly silliness that is Gioachino Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville”.  With the charming sub-title of “The Useless Precaution”, this 1816 opera buffa (i.e. the funny sort) puts paid to any lingering notions that that opera has to involve heavy individuals in seriously big frocks or Mediaeval tights warbling at length about how miserable love/politics/the constriction caused by their tights has made them. (O.K. – the big frocks may remain an optional extra, but who’s complaining?) No, this one involves ladders, disguises and false names (doesn’t every Count find his wooing most successful when he’s pretending to be a student disguised as a drunken soldier?) Also plots and schemes to foil one marriage plan and replace it with a jollier one, all orchestrated by, of course, the local barber. And he’s called Figaro, hence his much-loved (and fiendishly difficult) aria about being a barber called Figaro – suddenly it all falls into place. Watch out too for the poignant ensemble piece where everyone chimes in to express how completely confused they are – a Rossini speciality and a joy to hear.

RNS & Nevill Holt:  “The Barber of Seville”, Sage Gateshead, Saturday 2 July–Sunday 3rd July 2022: 3pm, 7pm, £15-£55, sagegateshead.com

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