A free-wheeling adaptation of The Barber of Seville by Michael O'Brien and John Millard, based on the play by Beaumarchais and the opera by Rossini. This all-new update of Theatre Columbus's sensational 1996 musical caper follows the beloved story of the young Count Almaviva and his pursuit of the untouchable Rosina with the help of the irrepressible Figaro, Barber of Seville.
Dan Chameroy, Figaro
Robert Clutton, Bass/Guitar/Mandolin
Lise Cormier, Sancho
Oliver Dennis, Don Bartolo
Raquel Duffy, Bertina
Rick Hyslop, Officer 2/Violin/Guitar
Tiina Kiik, Accordion
Courtney Ch'ng Lancaster, Rosina
John Millard, Officer 1/Banjo
Gregory Prest, Count Almaviva
William Webster, Don Basilio
Daniel Williston, Pancho/Padre Guitar
Leah Cherniak, Director
John Millard, Composer/Adaptor & Music Director
Michael O'Brien, Playwright/Adaptor
Ken MacKenzie, Set Designer
Victoria Wallace, Costume Designer
Jason Hand, Lighting Designer
Michael Laird, Sound Designer
Julia Aplin, Choreographer
Robert Harding, Stage Manager
Elizabeth McDermott, Assistant Stage Manager
Patricia O'Callaghan, Vocal Coach
Gregory Oh, Rehearsal Pianist
Simon Fon, Fight Director
Guillermo Verdecchia, Dramaturg
Kelly McEvenue, Alexander Coach
Thomas Swayne, Assistant Director
By Toby Malone, Ph.D
The familiar strains of Rossini's Largo al factotum - "Figaro qua, Figaro là, / Figaro su, Figaro giù" - heralds the entrance of one of the most enduring comic figures in the European theatre: Figaro, the Barber of Seville. Rossini, of course, did not invent the mischievous, loyal, crafty Figaro: that distinction falls to eighteenth-century French playwright Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, who placed the irrepressible figure in three plays - The Barber of Seville, The Marriage of Figaro, and The Guilty Mother - and proved the inspiration for operas from Rossini (The Barber of Seville) and Mozart (The Marriage of Figaro). In Figaro Beaumarchais created a servant who is not servile - a man who has his independence, thinks clearly, does not make himself subservient to his 'betters', and actively makes the aristocracy his object of scorn. So vivid was Figaro's outspoken nature that King Louis XVI banned all performances of The Marriage of Figaro in 1787 for fear it would incite the workers to rise up against the ruling class: Napoleon Bonaparte called the play 'the revolution in action', while Louis infamously suggested the Bastille would have to be torn down if the play was ever staged. Eventually, Beaumarchais prevailed, but the 1784 premiere of the play had the inflammatory impact expected: people were trampled to death in the rioting and the French revolution had its spark. And all this from little Figaro, who refused to believe that he was less of a human being than some aristocrat who had done nothing to earn his place beyond being born.
Before there was revolution, however, there was The Barber of Seville, a light-hearted 1772 romp. The story of the wily Figaro assisting the bold Count Almaviva win the heart of beautiful Rosine despite the presence of her aged ward and intended beau, Bartholo is a beloved and intricate tale, filled with disguises, music, mistaken identity, and, of course, the ultimate vindication of love.
The play was further adapted in 1996 by playwright Michael O'Brien and composer John Millard (Young Centre Resident Artist), which combines Beaumarchais' play with Rossini's music, presented by Theatre Columbus. This Dora Award-winning production has now been further reimagined and developed at Soulpepper for a fresh 2013 take on the classic story.