ENO's Barber of Seville in English is 'genuinely funny'
This Barber is set in 18th Century Spain as Rossini intended and it looks a treat
What you need to know
The English National Opera's revival of The Barber of Seville has opened at the Coliseum. This English-language version of Rossini's popular comedy was first staged by Jonathan Miller in 1987.
The opera, set in 18th century Seville, tells the story of Count Almaviva's attempts to win the heart of Dr Bartolo's beautiful ward, Rosina, with love, rather than money or status, by disguising himself as a poor student and enlisting the help of servant Figaro, the Barber of Seville.
Benedict Nelson is Figaro, Andrew Kennedy plays the Count, Andrew Shore is Doctor Bartolo and Lucy Crowe plays Rosina. The production runs until 17 March.
What the critics like
"Stop the front page," says Rupert Christiansen in the Daily Telegraph - this production of the Barber isn't updated to Nazi Germany or Fellini's Cinecitta, it's set in 18th Century Seville as Rossini imagined it, and it "looks a treat".
This is "a genuinely funny opera staging", says Nick Kimberley in the Evening Standard. The translation is full of "literate wit", so the laughs come, not from the subtitles, but from what the singers deliver. "That's what opera in English is for."
Andrew Shore's Bartolo is a highlight, says Neil Fisher in The Times. His physical gags and ad-libs perfectly suit the tone.
What they don't like
There's nothing wrong with this production, says Igor Toronyi-Lalic at the Arts Desk. But fine singing, faithful period sets and costumes, do not necessarily make a great Barber. It lacks "carefully sculpted comedic detail". ·