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ROHM's The Barber of Seville is a night of opera magic

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The Royal Opera House Muscat finally kicked off its highly anticipated new season (2023-2024)! Promising a year of breathtaking performances, legendary names in the realm of operatic singing, mesmerizing music, and spectacular concerts, fans are asked to brace themselves for an unparalleled artistic experience that will redefine their appreciation for the arts.

"The Barber of Seville," composed by the legendary Italian maestro Gioachino Rossini in 1816 has been curated to kick off the season. This extraordinary performance, originally conceived as a play by the esteemed French playwright Pierre-Augustin Beaumarchais in 1782, was scheduled on the final two nights of September.

The Royal Opera House Muscat handpicked this extraordinary show as it is brimming with unparalleled humor, exhilarating fun, and biting sarcasm and rightly so, the stage was lit on fire with the breathtaking opening. Brought to life by the unparalleled artistry of the RAI National Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra and the Intermezzo Choir under the masterful baton of Antonino Fogliani, it left the audience utterly captivated and awestruck.

The story is set in Seville, Spain, and revolves around the clever and resourceful Figaro, the town's barber, who helps Count Almaviva win the heart of the beautiful Rosina. Rosina is the ward of the elderly and wealthy Dr. Bartolo, who intends to marry her himself. With the help of Figaro's wit and ingenuity, Count Almaviva disguises himself in various ways to successfully woo Rosina and outmaneuver Bartolo's schemes.

The opera explores themes of love, deception, and social hierarchy while providing plenty of comedic moments. The characters engage in disguises, mistaken identities, and clever stratagems, creating a lighthearted and entertaining atmosphere.

Throughout the opera, Rossini's music is vibrant and playful, reflecting the characters' emotions and the comedic situations they find themselves in. "The Barber of Seville" remains one of the most popular and frequently performed operas in the repertoire, cherished for its delightful melodies and witty storytelling.

For the ROHM performance, Antonino Siragusa was singing the role of Count Almaviva and it was fun to see this gentleman transform in different scenes as he tried to disguise himself.

The artist Carlo Lepore singing the role of Dr. Bartolo was without a doubt a good villain and he played his role so well that you wish him ill-fate as the show progresses.

Russian artist Maria Kataeva performed the role of Rosina and consistently in the two-night performance, she proved herself to be a true master of the art being able to carry the emotions and artistry required by the role.

The cunning Figaro was also performed well by singer Vito Priante who eased into each scene providing the necessary push for the story to take its comedic path.

Singer Nicola Ulivieri, Lavinia Bini, and Eugenio di Lieto playing the roles of Don Basilio, housemaid, and Fiorello officially also have their own respective shining moments and it was fun to see the twists they put into their character the show would have been utterly different without their spectacular performances.

The performance at ROHM was magnificently brought to life by the masterful touch of theater director José Luis Castro. With an impressive portfolio including acclaimed shows like "Fantasia para un Juguete Roto," "Cuentos de la Alhambra," and the opera "Alrhythm de Lose Suenos," Castro's expertise shone brightly on the stage. Assisting him in crafting this extraordinary performance was the talented Francesco Bondi. Together, they created an unparalleled theatrical experience that left the audience in awe.

The Barber of Seville Opera team demonstrated unparalleled excellence in crafting the scenography, a profound art that orchestrates the theatrical space, molding it into a captivating form. Their mastery in this domain was not just about aesthetics; it was about creating an immersive world where every element coalesced into a harmonious spectacle. This was no mere stage design; it was a transformative endeavor, shaping the very essence of the performance.

Every scene was meticulously tailored to fulfill the lofty objectives of the performance, providing a rich tapestry upon which the dramatic text found its profound resonance. The stage of the Royal Opera House, under the artistic vision of Carmen Laffón and Juan Suarez, became a portal to another reality, a vivid testament to their ingenuity and creativity.

The brilliance of Vinicio Cheli's lighting design infused life into every corner, casting shadows that danced with the narrative's rhythm. The actors, adorned in exquisite classic costumes meticulously crafted by Ana Maria Abascal, breathed life into their roles, embodying the very essence of the characters they portrayed. These costumes weren't mere garments; they were embodiments of artistry, enhancing the actors' performances and enriching the audience's experience.

Behind this grandeur were the contributions of the Teatro Maesatransza of Seville, their decor, props, and costumes becoming essential threads in this intricate tapestry. Yet, the magic wasn't confined to the stage alone. It extended to the unseen hands, a legion of technicians whose expertise in lighting, décor, makeup, hairdressing, costumes, and myriad other facets, propelled this production to the zenith of perfection.

The show was greatly enriched by the dynamic participation of five exceptionally talented young Omanis from the Omani Opera Chanting Team, who not only mesmerized the audience with their extraordinary singing but also showcased their remarkable acting skills in pivotal supporting roles. Their involvement not only enhanced the overall entertainment value but also provided them with a transformative experience, both enriching and immensely enjoyable.

The electrifying triumph and sheer exhilaration delivered by the Barber of Seville sets the stage on fire, igniting an insatiable appetite for thrilling performances yet to come! Brace yourselves, for the future promises an explosion of fun-filled shows that will leave you breathless with anticipation. Get ready to be swept off your feet by an unstoppable wave of entertainment!

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