It may be abbreviated, but it's still a classic regardless
Il Barbiere Di Siviglia is my personal favourite of Rossini's operas, which I always find fun to watch and charming to hear. I think people will love this production, especially when it's performed and sung so brilliantly. The cuts may bother some though, the opera is abbreviated to 93 minutes. I personally found it tastefully done, but the omission of the florid section of Almaviva's first aria and the abbreviation of the final ensemble were quite glaring and lamented. The production values are excellent though, simple and elegant and it actually looks(and feels) like an actual performance when it was done as a studio production. The camera work concentrates on the performers and the drama and never diverts into self-indulgence or shots of irrelevant things. The editing and sound is decent enough, though we still get the sense that we are watching a nearly 70 year old opera film. That's not necessarily bad though, if anything it's part of the charm. The staging allows the delightful comedy to sparkle, I liked how Una Voce Poca Fa was staged and Bartolo had the funniest moments. Musically it is also top notch, with vibrant orchestral playing, a chorus that is animated and nicely blended and wholly competent conducting from Giuseppe Morelli. Tito Gobbi here is youthful and in great voice, not the most powerful or beautiful of timbres but flexible, lively and intelligently phrased with impeccable musicianship. He was a wonderful actor, one of the best in terms of singing-acting actually, and even before taking on much heavier roles like Scarpia and Rigoletto there is evidence of that. Nelly Corradi is a wholly charming and sparkling Rosina, with a bright evenly produced colouratura-soprano voice, and while Ferruccio Tagliavini is a stolid actor his velvety voice is perfectly ardent for Almaviva. Vito De Taranto's Bartolo is deliciously pompous and his comic timing is outrageously funny, he handles his patter song very well too. Italo Tajo is zany and imposing as Basilio, singing with sly delivery and vocal nuance. In conclusion, a classic production though not entirely ideal for those who don't like cuts. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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