[Met Performance] CID:233260

Il Barbiere di Siviglia
Metropolitan Opera House, Mon, April 2, 1973

Il Barbiere di Siviglia (343)
Gioachino Rossini | Cesare Sterbini
Hermann Prey

Marilyn Horne

Count Almaviva
Enrico Di Giuseppe

Dr. Bartolo
Fernando Corena

Don Basilio
Cesare Siepi

Jean Kraft

Robert Goodloe

Charles Anthony

Peter Sliker

James Levine

Cyril Ritchard

Eugene Berman

Stage Director
Patrick Tavernia

Il Barbiere di Siviglia received ten performances this season.
In the Lesson Scene Horne sang Tanti affetti from La Donna del Lago by Rossini.

Review 1:

Donal Henehan in The New York Times
Oddities Abound in the Met’s ‘Barbiere’

For a while, at the Metropolitan Opera's first performance this season of "Il Barbiere di Siviglia" on Monday night, one seemed to be hearing things. The overture, remarkably mellifluous and lilting in the relaxed tempo set by the conductor, James Levine, also seemed slightly askew. And from there on, oddities abounded.

Most striking were strange accompaniment patterns in the cellos during "Una voce poco fa" and what sounded like rhythmically rattled cutlery at other points in the score. As you may have guessed, Mr. Levine, who was conducting his first "Barbiere" at the Met, had decided to revise the scoring. He also opened up a number of traditional cuts; which meant that additional stage; maneuvering had to be devised to fill in the gaps left, in Cyril Ritchard's 1953 production of the Rossini opera.

As Mr. Levine later explained, he had wanted to base his-changes on the original score, recently published by Ricordi, but there had been insufficient rehearsal time to tackle the whole thing. So something of a hybrid version resulted. The almost Mozartean elegance of the overture was partly attributable to the omission of trombones, and the rattling noises elsewhere were produced by an outmoded percussion instrument, the sistrum, which is a kind of primitive tambourine on a stick. On the basis of what one heard, it would be interesting to have Mr. Levine restudy the whole score for a new "Barbiere" production.

This performance, however, had its ups and downs. Hermann Prey, taking on his first Figaro assignment at the Met, was one of the ups: authoritative, full-voiced and, if not wildly funny in the traditional buffoon style, at least a welcome counterbalance in a show that often threatened to collapse under its own heavy humor. The Ritchard production, which may have been witty at one time; now seems gross and antimusical, and the additional staging went even further in getting in the way of the music. All of it could be laid to rest with no harm done to Rossini's memory.

Mr. Levine; however, succeeded in holding the performance together quite well and in sustaining a line even when the performers seemed determined to stretch everything out of shape. Marilyn Horne, although a bit obvious as Rosina, provided the vocal fireworks expected of her, particularly in the Lesson Scene when she interpolated an extended scene from Rossini's "La Donna del Lago" ("Tanti affetti"), Enrico Di Giuseppe, the Almaviva, sang too strenuously and nasally at first, but relaxed into the part. The others in the cast included Fernado Corena, Robert Goodloe, Jean Kraft, Peter Sliker, Cesare Siepi and Charles Anthony.

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