Geneva Light Opera presents Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” on stage at the Smith Opera House in July

For its 11th summer season offering, Geneva Light Opera presents Rossini’s rollicking comic opera, “The Barber of Seville,” with an outstanding cast of artists this summer in the historic Smith Opera House. The intriguing tale of a clever young woman, her eager lover, and their resourceful accomplice, “The Barber of Seville” is a tuneful testament to wit and romance.

Three performances are scheduled from July 26th through 29th in the accoustically-superb Smith Opera House, 82 Seneca St., in downtown Geneva. Curtain time is 7:30PM Thursday and Saturday, July 26th and 28th, and 3PM on Sunday, the 29th. Tickets are $45 general admission, $30 seniors (65 and older), $10 students with ID, and free for children in grades K-12. They are now on sale at Stomping Grounds in Geneva, Mobile Music in Canandaigua, The Copy Shop in Seneca Falls, Longs’ Cards & Books in Penn Yan, by phone at (315) 789-8660 or online at www.genevalightopera.org. Additionally, there are a limited number of VIP tickets for Saturday’s performance. They are $75 each and include a wine reception at 6:30 and preferred seating. Doors open one half hour before the scheduled start time.

The madcap story unfolds fast and furious in 18th century Seville, Spain. Young Rosina is a wealthy orphan and the ward of a grasping old codger, Dr. Bartolo, who is plotting to marry her not only for her beauty, but for her substantial dowry. However, Rosina has two things on her side: the handsome Count Almaviva, who has fallen in love with her, and the town barber, Figaro, her conniving accomplice, who through clever disguises and quick wit succeeds in securing victory for the young couple. Told through a parade of hysterical schemes, the opera concludes with an “all is forgiven” finale bubbling over with joy.

With its famed overture that inspired the popular Bugs Bunny cartoon “Rabbit of Seville,” Geneva Light Opera’s new production includes a 13-piece orchestra hand-picked and conducted by James Blachly, is staged by Benjamin Spierman, with fight scenes directed by Steve Vaughan, and features baritone Jimi James as Figaro, basso Valerian Ruminski as Bartolo, tenor Alexey Kukharskie as Almaviva, and mezzo soprano Sarah Nordin as Rosina. Alison Cheeseman, Nicholas Kilkenny, and Erik Danielson round out the cast.

An English translation will be used to convey the rhyme and wit of Sterbini’s original libretto. English supertitles will be projected for the second time in The Smith thanks to a collaboration with The Opera Guild of Rochester.

Twenty-three-year-old Gioachino Rossini created this bold, youthful prequel to Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” in just a whirlwind 13 days. Composed thirty years after Mozart’s classic, “Barber” is based on the first of French playwright Pierre Beaumarchais’s trilogy of plays, “Le Barbier de Séville” (1775). With a libretto by Cesare Sterbini, Rossini’s masterpiece is full of effervescent music and never-ending wit. It contains some of the most popular music in opera, from the easily recognizable overture to the refrain “Figaro, Figaro, Figaro!” in the aria “Largo al factotum.” “The Barber of Seville” is considered one of the greatest comic operas ever composed and is among the most frequently performed operas in the world.

Italian composer Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868) is highly regarded as one of the great opera composers of the 19th century. Rossini began his operatic career at the age of eighteen and would compose roughly forty operas, his last at the age of 37. His comedic operas “The Barber of Seville,” “La Cenerentola,” “The Italian Girl in Algiers,” and “The Turk in Italy” remain his most popular works, as well as “Guillaume Tell” (“William Tell’), primarily remembered for its famous overture.

This production of “The Barber of Seville” is made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts’ Decentralization Program, administered locally by Finger Lakes Community Arts Grants, and by the Williams Family Foundation, the Nelson B. Delavan Foundation, and Geneva Rotary Club.

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