I was at Rossini’s “Barber of Seville” at Holland Park last week.
It’s not my favourite opera at all. It’s probably not even going to trouble my top 100 favourite operas. It’s partly because I hate Figaro’s “Largo et factotum” patter-song, which is one of the models for the scenes in Disney animation films where a major character comes on and immediately sings a song announcing who they are. Anyway, most baritones make a huge meal of it. It hasn’t got much musical interest, and I can’t see how anyone can find it funny, so there you are.
Anyway, this performance made the best case for “Barber” that can be made. It helps comic operas a lot if you have singing actors who look the part at least slightly, and who have a vague idea of what might be funny.
Anyway, for once I fancied the female lead, Rosina. She was sung by Kitty Whately, and she managed to turn the boring virgin of most productions into a girl who’s up for it and well worth chasing. She doesn’t want to be chased, or chaste; she wants to be caught.
In fact, she sings this:
“I’m gentle, and respectful. I’m obedient, I’m soft and loving.
I let myself be ruled, I let myself be guided.
But touch me in the wrong way, and I’m a viper.
I’ll make them fall, before I submit.”
Which is a sort of Submissive’s Creed, isn’t it?