Future opera singers are easily identified at birth due to their multi-octave crying and graceful bows as they emerge from the womb. Check out how far these toddling tenors have come with this GrouponLive deal to see The Barber of Seville, performed by the Shreveport Opera at RiverView Theater. For $12, you get one ticket for bronze-level seating in floor sections A or E or balcony sections A, E–H, or K–M on Saturday, October 27, at 7:30 p.m. (up to a $25 value). Doors open for the show at 7 p.m., and concertgoers may attend a pre-show lecture at 6:30 p.m.
Perhaps the pinnacle of comic opera, The Barber of Seville tells the tale of the boisterous Figaro going about his everyday duties: a head of hair or two to cut, a delivered letter here and there, and a bit of matchmaking for hire. Wealthy Count Almaviva desires the beautiful Rosina—and says so in a window-side serenade—but the maiden is in the custody of the vile Dr. Bartolo, who intends to marry her himself. Enter Figaro, armed with a big baritone, a quick wit, and a jacket lined with false mustaches. It takes Almaviva three or four costume changes to do so, but the smitten count is willing to take on all the personas he needs to win the fair Rosina’s heart.
Without a doubt, The Barber of Seville's most famous aria is "Largo al factotum" (“Make way for the factotum”), though Bugs Bunny fans may know it simply as “Figaro! Figaro!” The barber belts this tongue-twisting piece by way of introduction, establishing a personality at once bombastic, bold, and able. Later, in the serene "Una voce poco fa" (“A voice a little while ago”), Rosina’s piping vocal acrobatics betray her heart’s desire for the mysterious caller at her window.
A cast of established opera stars and newly recognized players fills the poofy wigs of the four principal characters. Baritone Dan Kempson takes the titular role with a mischievous wink and, in the words of the San Francisco Chronicle’s Joshua Kosman, a “fluid and handsomely burnished tone.” Count Almaviva is portrayed by Colorado tenor Vale Rideout, whose past accomplishments include soloing on the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s recording of Carmina Burana and the rare feat of putting a wineglass back together with his voice. Steven Condy deftly blusters through the role of Dr. Bartolo, a part he has been performing regularly since 2007, and Sharin Apostolou as Rosina rounds out the cast, displaying the pipes that earned her this year’s Lorena Bessey Mangin Memorial Award from Shreveport Opera.
Though Shreveport Opera sometimes offers a discounted price online, this Groupon is still the best deal available.