The marriage of opera and comedy is one of the essential joys of the musical world, and as such, it was gratifying to see West Australian Opera return to the stage of His Majesty’s Theatre for 2021 with such a delightful opera as Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, The Barber of Seville. An evening of wonderful chaos, the production was full of pure comedic energy from beginning to end, underpinned by a bold sense of style, which proved a treat for the eyes as well as the ears.
The production itself, a co-production between Opera Queensland, Seattle Opera and New Zealand Opera, directed by Lindy Hume, was an excellent choice for revival; the vibrant styling and madcap action complemented Rossini’s music and Beaumarchais’ plot to allow for maximum comic effect. Set and costume designer Tracy Grant Lord’s Seville was particularly impressive, capturing the essence of the opera and adding a dash of surrealism to create a doll’s house-like world, full of nooks, crannies and entrepreneurial barbers.
The cast of The Barber of Seville, West Australian Opera, 2021. Photograph © James Rogers