An ensemble cast including Thomas Walker and Claire Booth welcomes Scottish Opera’s production of Rossini’s opera buffa onto the Festival stage. It’s a turn back in history after the company’s fairly modern choice in Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s 1930s fusion piece The Seven Deadly Sins staged back in August. Period costumes and colourful sets get SO back to the traditional days of opera, when the art form was still blossoming.
It’s a classic piece, arguably overdone, as it has been perennially staged up and down the country, from versions by the Welsh National Opera last month, to OperaUpClose’s adaptation last year. So the choice doesn’t throw too many surprises at its audience, as Scottish Opera utilise the skills of veteran baritone Sir Thomas Allen as director. Yet refreshingly, it’s a chance to escape from the intensities period opera can sometimes display, with a light, hearty tale about a cheery barber attempting to unite the young couple Rosina and Almaviva. While commentary can be found in Rossini’s social satire and comedy, the real depth will come from the attention to detail afforded in SO’s production, as to stage this text effectively, the company mustn’t overcomplicate the setting.