[Met Performance] CID:216520

Il Barbiere di Siviglia
Metropolitan Opera House, Thu, November 7, 1968 Telecast

Il Barbiere di Siviglia (321)
Gioachino Rossini | Cesare Sterbini
Mario Sereni

Teresa Berganza

Count Almaviva
Luigi Alva

Dr. Bartolo
Fernando Corena

Don Basilio
Giorgio Tozzi

Shirley Love

Gene Boucher

Andrea Velis

Peter Sliker

Richard Bonynge

Cyril Ritchard

Eugene Berman

Stage Director
Patrick Tavernia

TV Director
Shunji Kanatsu

Il Barbiere di Siviglia received fourteen performances this season.
The performance and final dress rehearsal were videotaped by NHK for presentation in Japan and first televised there on 1/4/69.
From February 19, 1954 until 1/23/71, the selection sung by Rosina in the Lesson Scene was Contro un cor, the aria originally written by Rossini for this episode.

Review 1:

Review of Douglas Watt in the New York Daily News


What happened offstage at Thursday night's performance of "Il Barbiere di Siviglia" at the Metropolitan Opera may turn out to be more important than what happened on. For this revival of the Rossini opera, after a three-year absence from the company's repertory, was being videotaped during the performance for possible use by television networks.

The staging, corny as it is, was carried off with admirable flair by such seasoned artists as Fernando Corena, in the role of Dr. Bartolo, and Giorgio Tozzi, as Don Basilio. Mr. Corena's round figure and face, topped by a huge wig with a pert red ribbon, is funny in itself, and he made the most of his music with a voice that is less than fresh. Mr. Tozzi, sounding more resonant than usual, also sang excellently.

Mario Sereni, in the title role, unfortunately seemed out of voice, forcing on some passages, coasting on others, and he cut a rather bland figure as Figaro. Luigi Alva, the young Peruvian tenor, is superior to the general run of Almavivas. He sings sweetly, carried off the fioriture with aplomb and general ease, and is a graceful, amusing actor.

But the revival was really distinguished by the presence of Teresa Berganza as Rosina. The Spanish mezzo-soprano had not sung the role with the company before, although she has been a well-known recitalist here, and her way with Rossini's music is much admired. She is certainly the most charming Rosina at the Met since her compatriot Victoria de los Angeles. Like her, she sings the music in the low key, which makes it much more appealing to the ear than the constant chirping of coloratura sopranos one is usually subjected to. Short and dark, if not exactly petite, Miss Berganza is quite enchanting to look at, a pleasant if not volatile actress, and a singer of great style and skill. She lit the stage up whenever she was on it, without making any attempt to do so.

The performance also marked the first time it was conducted for the company by Richard Bonynge. The Rossini repertory is familiar territory for him, but not everything worked out smoothly between him and the singers. He was considerate of them, and in some ways this made his conducting valuable, since he gave them time to make their points. But the Rossini score, very exposed and transparent, showed up all the raggedness in the orchestra's playing and some of the instrumental imbalances. More performances should smooth this out and make this a thoroughly satisfactory "Barbiere."

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