"On Friday, I found myself enjoying Barbiere in Norton Hall mostly for the time-honored reasons. This is an opera that succeeds by not taking itself seriously, and while director Kathleen Smith Belcher promised social commentary in her program note, she mostly let the situations and conflicts inherent in the text (and the original play by Pierre Beaumarchais) speak and sing for themselves. . . .
bright-voiced Daniel Belcher, after handing out business cards to members of the audience, found himself lying flat on his back. Still, “Largo al factotum,” the most famous of all baritone arias, had its usual invigorating effect. . .
Baritone Marco Nisticò, another debutant, was surprisingly virile as Rosina’s guardian and captor. Generally, Bartolo is played as an elderly buffo caricature. This trim physician of middle age seemed less a chump than a threat. . .
The Chautauqua production — surprisingly, the first of this favorite since 2000 — is true to its fun-loving spirit. There are dizzying strobe effects and stop-action sequences in front of a giant clock that reminds us of the inevitable march, usually forward, of time. Physical comedy was ample but not intrusive."
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