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Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia

Kathleen Battle
Rockwell Blake (Almaviva),
Leo Nucci (Figaro),
Enzo Dara (Bartolo)
Ferruccio Furlanetto

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus, Ralf Weikert
Production - John Cox
Video Director - Brian Large
Set Designer - Robin Wagner
Costume Designer - Patricia Zipprodt
Lighting Designer - Gil Wechsler

DG - 0734022 (DVD Video - 2 discs)

A particularly happy "Barber", one of the very best even though 20 years old and picture format 4:3. Don't let that put you off.

The Met provides expensive, elaborate and very clever sets whcih add to the fun but don't overwhelm the central performances and great ensemble playing. Kathleen Battle is a delight, and her performance grows on you scene by scene; see her sing Una Voce Poco Fa on YouTube.

Surfing the net for reviews of those performances, I was saddened to learn that a few years on "Battle also acquired a reputation for temperamental behavior, culminating in her dismissal from the Metropolitan in 1994 over alleged "unprofessional actions."" Perhaps all the more reason to cherish this filming.

The camera work is fine, bringing out all the subtleties of the interchanges, as is the sound recording. We've seen (and reviewed) many Barbers since then, but this is definitely one to collect.

Peter Grahame Woolf

Another review of the DVD