BRAVO FOR THE BARBER
The New Year is right around the corner and opera lovers will be gearing up for the energy and intensity of the much-anticipated “Ring Cycle.” But before they hunker down for the Wagner marathon, they decided to treat themselves to a little levity. When it comes to sheer operatic fun, nothing quite beats “The Barber of Seville.” Rossini’s popular bel canto returned to the Music Center last week.
Los Angeles Opera CEO Mark Stern and his wife Eva joined Malibu neighbors like Richard and Cindy Troop for an afternoon of music and merriment.
Cat Pollen made a colorful entrance in a vibrant purple cloak while Mrs. Gene Kelly channeled her inner Grace Kelly in a perfectly tailored classic 50s frock.
After a sip of bubbly in the Founders’ Room, it was showtime. The production was a delight with a host of standout performances including baritone Nathan Gunn as Figaro and Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Florez as Count Almaviva. Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato made her company debut as Rosina and Italian bass baritone Bruno Pratico made his first appearance for LAO as Doctor Bartolo.
During a champagne reception at intermission, music lovers raved about the performances and the production. “It’s just so much fun,” said Kelly. “It’s always been a favorite.” General Director Placido Domingo echoed those sentiments. “Barber of Seville is one of the most popular of all operas,” he said. “The story is a delightful combination of comedy and romance. The characters are just as vivid today as they were when they first took the stage. We assembled a world-class cast of performers who bring wonderful life to the musical wit and brilliance of this comic masterpiece.”
The opera ended with an explosion of color, a rainbow of festive costumes, twinkling stars, brightly patterned kites and a red hot-air balloon sailing off into the skies.
After a standing ovation, opera lovers joined the cast for a Spanish-themed bash. The evening included the 12th annual Placido Domingo Awards Dinner. The General Director had special thanks for Juan Diego Florez as well as Malibu’s Marc Stern. The CEO was praised for his “invaluable leadership, incredible generosity and tireless dedication which help make LAO one of the most exciting and vibrant companies in the world.”
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