Civic Theatre and a newly trained chorus made up of 30 Townsville locals are getting ready to stage Opera Queensland’s new production of Gioacchino Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, which has just finished up a Brisbane season marked by full-houses, standing ovations and critical acclaim.
The brilliant production - hailed by The Australian as “riotously funny”, with “several unforgettable, laugh-out-loud moments”, an “ingenious and appealing set”, the “ masterclass in orchestral support for onstage voices”, is coming to Townsville on Wednesday 17 August.
Directed by Lindy Hume and under the baton of Roland Peelman, Rossini’s opera is a rollicking fiesta of sunny Spanish madness, telling the story of the dashing Count Almaviva who, ably abetted by Figaro, wins the heart of the sassy young maiden Rosina and rescues her from an arranged marriage to her crusty old guardian Bartolo.
Set and costume designer Tracy Grant Lord has created an anarchic and cartoonish world for the impossible to happen, from the lush seductive costumes to the trippy vivid backdrop of never-ending doors.
The performance will feature the wonderful cast who created the production in Brisbane including Brett Carter or Shaun Brown playing Figaro, while Monique Latemore and Katie Stenzel share the role of Rosina, alongside popular Queensland singers Virgilio Marino or Jaewoo Kim as Count Almaviva, Andrew Collis as Dr Bartolo, David Hibbard as Don Basilio, Shaun Brown or Matthew Broadbent as Fiorello, Emily Burke as Berta and Brian Lucas as the ancient servant, Ambrogio.
The 30 Townsville locals, who went through an audition process at the beginning of the year, have spent the last six weeks doing professional training in singing, dancing, stagecraft and Italian language skills.
When they take to the stage on Wednesday 17 August they will star alongside OperaQ’s principal artists, supported by an ensemble from Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
OperaQ Artistic Director Lindy Hume said although The Barber of Seville celebrated its 200th birthday this year, it still seemed fresh and exciting.
“It’s the ideal opera for first timers and seasoned opera goers, and I think our chorus members are going to love the experience of singing Rossini’s effervescent music and learning to dance the fandango,” Ms Hume said.
“The addition of a new chorus in every Queensland city we visit adds even more fun to this production and our artists love working with so many passionate people who have never been in a professional, fully-staged production before.”
OperaQ’s new production of The Barber of Seville is a co-production with Seattle Opera and New Zealand
Project Rossini/The Barber of Seville is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland’s Playing Queensland Fund and by the performing arts centre in each community.
Cast and crew
Conductor: Roland Peelman
Director: Lindy Hume
Assistant Director: Jason Barry-Smith
Designer: Tracy Grant Lord
Lighting Designer: Matthew Marshall
Chorus Master Brisbane: Narelle French
Fandango choreographer: Rafael Bonachela*
*by arrangement with Sydney Dance Company
Musicians from Queensland Symphony Orchestra
Figaro: Brett Carter/Shaun Brown
Count Almaviva: Virgilio Marino/Jaewoo Kim
Rosina: Monique Latemore/Katie Stenzel
Dr Bartolo: Andrew Collis
Don Basilio: David Hibbard
Berta: Emily Burke
Fiorello: Shaun Brown/Matthew Broadbent
Ambrogio: Brian Lucas
Flamenco guitar: Andrew Veivers
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