Masks unveiled in classical comedy


Freezing temperatures and a few icy roads weren’t enough to halt the opening production of Gioachino Rossini’s famous opera buffa on Friday night at the Moores School of Music.

“The Barber of Seville” is a classical comedy that was composed in the 17th century. Numerous renditions of the play have survived throughout hundreds of years. Although portrayed countless times, it has stayed true to the original work — but this time with an eccentric Cirque du Soleil twist that flowed effortlessly with the harmony and captured audiences’ interest.

“The music, the high energy of the whole play is what keeps the story alive and modern,” said Buck Ross, director of the play and founder of Moores Opera Center. “It’s fun for everyone.”

The musical satire follows the lively Count Almaviva’s, played by Brian Yeakley, intricate adventure, filled with disguises and countless missteps, all in order to win over his love interest, the beautiful Rosina, played by Kyla Knox, as she is locked up for arranged marriage by the evil physician Dr. Bartolo, played by Cesar Torruella. Count has the help of the barber of Seville himself, Figaro, played by James Rodriguez, and a dozen amusing pulcinellas, or black-masked clowns, who also play accompanists and police officers and literally move the story forward by rotating the stage through different scenarios.

One of the starting pulcinellas, music theory senior Joshua Hines, agreed that the composition, conducted by Jacob Sustaita, helped everyone’s performance, including his own, as this was his first-ever acting role.

“We imitate the music. It becomes my identity as a clown,” Hines said. “It guides the storytelling.”

The seamless music had the biggest role, carrying the story forward while interpreting the characters’ emotions.

Although the entire play was performed in Italian, the subtitles hung above the stage weren’t needed due to the orchestra’s fluent arias. Audience members and seniors Dustin Shaw and Laura Callon, both violinists, know all too well of the appreciation of this classical work.

“(‘The Barber of Seville’) is a very popular opera within the field of music,” Shaw said.

He said that ‘The Barber of Seville’ is an iconic play that everyone should see.

“It’s a great comedy,” Callon said. “Sustaita and the orchestra lifted the plot.”

The Moores School of Music starts the year with a warm rendition of one of Rossini’s famous stories and well-known compositions, which are of them widely used years later in comedies such as “The Simpsons” and childhood favorite “Looney Tunes.”

“This play is a great way to start your love for the art of classical music,” Hines said.

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