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The Barber of Seville

Get ready for comedy, chaos, jaw-dropping costumes and stunning sets, as Opera Australia performs The Barber of Seville at Darwin Festival and Araluen Arts Centre this month.

By Betty Sweetlove

Gioachino Rossini's much loved ‘opera buffa’ is comic opera at its finest, and not just for seasoned opera-goers. One of the most widely performed operas throughout the world, this refreshingly contemporary production is directed by the multi-award-winning Priscilla Jackman, who says this laugh-a-minute show is sure to delight anyone.

“The sense of playful mischief and passion is absolutely infectious from the first moments,” she says.

Opera Australia is celebrated for their fresh approach to modern opera. Jackman has thoroughly reimagined the musical masterpiece, relocating it from the grand Andalusian city in Spain to a town much closer to home.

“I was intrigued to find we actually have a Seville here in Australia, in the Yarra Valley. This is an area of rich heritage, and our set designer Michael Scott Mitchell and I were inspired by the romance of vineyards and cellar door culture,” she says.

The plot follows a mischief-fuelled adventure of forbidden love, hasty disguise and mistaken identity. Local barber Figaro must help his famous friend Count Almaviva, who has fallen hopelessly in love with Rosina despite a strict guardian holding her captive.

With Love Island levels of drama and mayhem, it's up to quick-thinking Figaro to ensure true love can triumph amid the chaos.

Ingeniously updating the characters for their new Australian setting, the matchmaking Figaro becomes a hipster barber – complete with painfully accurate moustache – and love interest Rosina is given new life as a smart and sassy wine maker.

“We were inspired by the recent renaissance of contemporary barbers – the hybrid agelessness of that fashion, and the unashamed dapper look,” says Jackman.

A night at the opera wouldn’t be complete without revelling in the glory of a full live orchestra. Audiences can delight in a show packed with tunes familiar from Looney Tunes, The Simpsons and Family Guy.

“It’s exciting to bring this wonderful opera to different towns that don’t always have big shows coming to them. We have an orchestra of 12, and our extraordinary maestro Siro Battaglin who travels with us,” says Jackman.

An irresistibly entertaining night out, let Opera Australia whisk you away for a hilarious and hijinks-filled trip to Seville. The Victoria, Australia, version.


Darwin
WHEN WED 9 & THU 10 AUG | 7.30PM
AT DARWIN ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE
COST $64 | $59 CONC | $20 U18
INFO darwinfestival.org.au

Alice Springs
WHEN THU 17 AUG | 7.30PM
AT ARALUEN ARTS CENTRE
COST $79 | $75 CONC
INFO araluenartscentre.nt.gov.au

Photos: Jeff Busby

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