This June, BYU’s School of Music presents Gioachino Rossini’s revered comic opera The Barber of Seville, for the first time as a main-stage production on BYU campus. Directed by School of Music professor Lawrence Vincent, the opera is Lawrence’s last production before his retirement after 20 years of teaching at BYU.
“Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville), is a perfectly hilarious way to process the bitter-sweet finality of my retirement,” says Lawrence. “[However], it is also a beginning. Never in BYU’s opera history, has this work been performed as a main-stage production. We are very proud to present this well-known and beloved opera.”
Staged in 18th century Spain, the opera is based on the first of the three plays by the French playwright Pierre Beaumarchais. The three plays tell the story of Figaro, a clever character who plays a unique role in helping a count woo his love interest. A demanding opera that requires both agility and stamina, The Barber of Seville is a challenge for any cast, says Lawrence. Nevertheless, the work is well worth it, given that the opera is a humorous delight for both the audience, crew and performers.
For those familiar with the original comical opera, this production will be slightly different. Certain sections have been omitted in order to cut performance time. Rather than a span of three full hours, BYU’s production will be more manageable for families and students alike, while simultaneously preserving the authenticity of the original opera.
“The last day of the performance is the last day of my career,” explains Lawrence. “The Barber of Seville is the first professional opera I ever did and the last I’ll do before I retire.”
The cast includes Stephen Pace and Dylan Glenn as Figaro, Annie Powell and Rachel Glenn as Rosina, Benjamin Bird and Banner Smith as Count Almaviva, Tyler Yarbrough and Connor Lee as Bartolo, Isaac Carlin as Basillio, Josie Larsen and Alicia Fairbanks as Berta, Cameron Mayo as Ambrogio and Sam Neff as Fiorello. The chorus includes J. Alexander Bennett, Matthew Dewsnup, McKay Elwood, Taylor Knapp, Daniel Perez, Tyler Shelton, Mitchell Wassom and Jared Wells.
The production team includes Logan Anderson as conductor, Jennifer Reed as production manager and properties supervisor, Susan Kupferer as production stage manager, Travis Coyne as technical director and scenic designer, Taylor Robinson as properties designer, Michael Handley as lighting supervisor and designer, Donnette Perkins as costume shop manager, Cortnie Beatty as costume designer, Rachel Hughes and Harli McShinsky as co-makeup designers and Troy Streeter as audio/visual manager.
Enjoy a preview of the opera here.