The production, a revival of the one used by the company last time in 2010, featured staging from Minnesota Opera and costumes from Washington National Opera. While some of the scenery looked a little tired, the colorful, mostly modern garb, enhanced the comedy.
|John Moore as Figaro, Aleksandra Romano as Rosina, and Jack Swanson as Count Almaviva in Portland Opera's 2019 production of Rossini's The Barber of Seville. Photo by Cory Weaver/Portland Opera.|
Eduardo Chama had a field day as the conniving but bungling Dr. Bartolo. Adam Lau was terrifically funny as the Don Basilio, and his animated singing of “La calunnia,” a lesson in dirty tricks, caused a riot of laughter. Antonia Tamer, shone as Berta and made her one big aria about the plight of being an old maid a memorable highlight of the evening.
|Eduardo Chama as Doctor Bartolo and Aleksandra Romano as Rosina in Portland Opera's 2019 production of Rossini's The Barber of Seville. Photo by Cory Weaver/Portland Opera|
George Manahan conducted the orchestra expertly and doubled on the harpsichord. Here and there he played riffs from Bach’s Toccata and Fugue and Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, that added a little extra amusement for opera buffs.
One newish wrinkle in this production was an implication that Dr. Bartolo had a secret attraction to men. This was instigated through a snippet of flirtatious behavior by Figaro and capped off at the very end of the opera when Figaro planted a kiss on Dr. Bartolo, who embarrassingly enjoyed it. The seeming innocence of it all did add to the comic lightheartedness of story and accepted with chuckles by the audience.