Beaumarchais: Il barbiere di Siviglia and Le nozze di Figaro
Date: Sunday 8 May 2016
Venue: Ebert Room
Our first study day will introduce you to the world of Beaumarchais, who created some of the most scintillating and best-loved characters in the history of opera.
Sanja Perovic, Senior Lecturer in French at King’s College London and specialist in French literature and history of the 18th century, will explore the shared background between Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia and Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro.
Both operas are consistently among the top eight most-performed operas in the world. But there’s more that links these two works: they’re based on a series of plays by French playwright and revolutionary Beaumarchais. In fact, many argue that Figaro, probably the most famous barber in the world, who outwits the cunning Count Almaviva and the shrewd Rosina, is based on Beaumarchais himself. Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia sets the scene that culminates several years later in ‘the day of folly’ that sees the characters of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro lose their composure in the most exuberant and entertaining way.
Francesco Izzo, author of Laughter Between Two Revolutions: Opera Buffa in Italy, 1831-1848 and Head of Music at the University of Southampton, will explore the similarities and differences between Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia and its operatic predecessor. Although by far the most well known, Rossini’s resplendent work is not the first opera based on the Beaumarchais play of the same name. Giovanni Paisiello wrote his version of Il barbiere di Siviglia in 1782, which makes it 34 years older than Rossini’s opera.
Next, Björn Bürger, Eduarda Melo and Natalia Tanasii accompanied by Anthony Legge will treat the study day audience to an exclusive musical performance. The singers will slip into the roles of the parallel characters of Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia and Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, bringing to life the contrasting characters of these two unforgettable works.
The study day will conclude with a discussion featuring Enrique Mazzola, conductor of the production of Il barbiere di Siviglia that premieres at Festival 2016, and specialist in bel canto repertoire. In conversation with scholars and performers, Mazzola will give an exclusive insight into how the London Philharmonic Orchestra will work together to bring Rossini’s score to life.
The study day will be moderated by classical music journalist Warwick Thompson.
Lunch is available at an extra cost of £15.50 for two courses in Nether Wallop Restaurant if pre-booked.