A New, Family-Friendly Version of THE BARBER OF SEVILLE Premieres at the Metropolitan Opera This Holiday Season, Helmed by Tony Award Winner Bartlett Sher
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by BWW News Desk
This December, the Met will present an all-new holiday presentation: an abridged, English-language version of Rossini's classic comedy The Barber of Seville. Bartlett Sher returns to direct this adaptation of his hit 2006 production, which will have a running time of approximately two hours. Yves Abel conducts a cast led by Isabel Leonard as the feisty heroine Rosina, Alek Shrader as the handsome Count Almaviva, Rodion Pogossov as the local jack-of-all-trades Figaro, John Del Carlo as the wicked Dr. Bartolo, and Jordan Bisch as the music teacher Don Basilio. The new English-language libretto is by J. D. McClatchy, the American poet who also provided the translation for the Met's holiday production of Mozart's The Magic Flute. In keeping with the Met's recent tradition of family-oriented holiday programming, The Barber of Seville will feature sharply discounted tickets and a special weekday matinee performance.
The Barber of Seville is the third opera to be presented in English as a Met holiday presentation, joining The Magic Flute and Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel. Bartlett Sher's production of IL Barbiere di Siviglia premiered to critical acclaim in the Met's 2006-07 season and has been performed a total of 50 times over four subsequent seasons.
Isabel Leonard sang her first company performances of Rosina in the Met's 2011-12 season. Her Met repertory includes three Mozart roles-Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, and Dorabella in Così fan tutte-as well as Stéphano in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette,the role of her debut. Earlier this season, she sang Miranda in the Met premiere of Thomas Adès's The Tempest, and she will return in the spring to sing Blanche de la Force in Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites. She has also sung Rosina with the Vienna State Opera, Denver Opera, and Paris Opera.
Alek Shrader made his Met debut in The Tempest this fall, singing Ferdinand to Leonard's Miranda. His competition-winning performance in the Met's 2007 National Council Auditions was chronicled in Susan Froemke's documentary The Audition. He has sung Count Almaviva at the Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse, Bavarian State Opera, and Cleveland Opera.
Rodion Pogossov, a graduate of the Met's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, made his Met role debut as Figaro in 2009 and has since sung the role 17 times. His other Met roles have included Fiorello in Barbiere, Marullo in Verdi's Rigoletto, and Papageno in both Die Zauberflöte and the abridged Magic Flute. Later this season, he will sing Rodrigo in Verdi's Don Carlo at the Hamburg State Opera.
John Del Carlo has sung Dr. Bartolo at the Met more than 50 times since 1996. He made his Met debut in 1993 as Kothner in Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and has sung 17 roles with the company, including Dr. Bartolo in both Barbiere and Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro,Frank in Strauss's Die Fledermaus, and the title role in Donizetti's Don Pasquale. Earlier this season, he sang Gonzalo in the Met premiere of The Tempest.
Jordan Bisch, also a graduate of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, makes his Met role debut as Don Basilio. His Met performances have included the Second Knight in Wagner's Parsifal, a Trojan in Mozart's Idomeneo, Duke of Verona in Roméo et Juliette, the Frate in Don Carlo, and the King in Verdi's Aida.
Yves Abel made his Met debut in 1994 conducting IL Barbiere di Siviglia and has also led performances of Bizet's Carmen, Donizetti's La Fille du Régiment, Puccini's Madama Butterfly, and Verdi's La Traviata. Later this season, he will conduct La Fille du Régiment at San Diego Opera and Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi at the Bavarian State Opera.