, May 2012
this Barbiere, so full of vitality and fun, is preferable to many a “perfect” (of course there is no such thing) studio recording, and many scholarly attempts to perform the music exactly as Rossini composed it…I suspect that Rossini would have had the time of his life had he been sitting in the Royal Opera House on May 21, 1960. If you like this opera and collect live opera recordings, then I cannot recommend this ICA Classics release too highly.
ICA Classics has released several DVDs. Would that they could have done so for this performance! Given the frequent and generous laughter from the audience, in the absence of anything funny musically, this production must have been strong on comedy. Laughter being infectious, I often found myself making some of my own without really knowing why. You can’t ignore the spirited camaraderie heard in this performance.
Berganza, Alva, Corena, and Vinco are on top of their form here. Berganza is an engaging Rosina, bursting with personality, and Alva is his usual mellifluous self. Corena hams up Bartolo in the manner we expect him to, and is a pompous joy. Vinco takes “La calunnia” relatively straight, which allows us to enjoy his beautifully sonorous voice. Giulini keeps the performance under control as well as he can. He is, perhaps, the voice of reason here, although he has the good sense to let his expert cast do their collective thing.
Don’t miss the chance to acquaint yourself with this Barbiere. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review on Fanfare