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Subject: Re: Why is Il barbiere the most popular Rossini comedY
From: Jack Fertig <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Jack Fertig <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 27 Jun 2003 09:31:13 -0700

text/plain (44 lines)

----- Original Message -----
From: "James Johnston" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, June 27, 2003 1:17 AM
Subject: Why is Il barbiere the most popular Rossini comedY

"What is the overwhelming attraction of The Barber of Seville (as compared
to Cenerentola and/or L'Italiana)?"

The answer that leaps to mind is the DaPonte play as the starting point.
It's a stupid prejudice I know, but starting from a child's tale, la
Cenerentola seems like silly fluff for children...  Hmmm, maybe not so
stupid a prejudice.  While both operas involve passion and ambition, the
characters in Barber are more complex, more deeply developed.  I think that
Rossini's music reflects the different levels of sophistication, but I'll
yield to more musically educated opinions on that score. (No pun intended!)

Maybe it's just a prejudice borne from having heard Barber several times
before the others, but Cenerentola and L'Italiana sound to me like cheap
knock-offs of Barber.  The clear marks of his style (most of all, the
Rossini Crescendo) make the three operas sound quite similar.  While all are
entertaining, and my reasoning may be flimsy, there is no question in my
mind that Barber is just the better opera.

That said, I quite enjoyed Wednesday's performance of la Cenerentola.  Juan
Diego Florez has a bright clear voice that (barely) filled the hall, and a
youthful sweetness that made me wonder what one calls a male ingenue...
ingenu?  His face, cute enough now, doesn't look like it will long hold the
youthfulness that characterizes his voice.  That could quickly become a
casting problem, but let's see how he matures.

Slightly improved after post-quake refurbishment SFO's balcony is still
uncomfortably hot in this summery weather.


Not really related to opera -- except that they do a take-off on the Bell
Song duet from Lakme, all about dating an opera queen, so that ties it in...
America's favorite dragapella beauty shop quartet, the Kinsey Sicks, will be
performing at Herbst Theater July 19 and 26.  No, I don't work for them, but
think they're great fun for all music lovers.  Audio clips and travel
schedules at

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