DAYTON, OH (February 2, 2018) – On Friday, March 2, 2018 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 4, 2018 at 3 p.m. in the Mead Theatre of the Schuster Center, Dayton Opera, under the leadership of Artistic Director Thomas Bankston, will present Gioachino Rossini’s delightful opera buffa The Barber of Seville.
Principal Sponsor for this production of The Barber of Seville is Opera Guild of Dayton. Leadership Sponsors are 10 Wilmington Place, The Bill and Jackie Lockwood Family Foundation, and Premier Health. Performance Sponsor is Crowne Plaza, and Associate Sponsors are Bob Ross Auto Group and Marriott at the University of Dayton.
“Figaro! Figaro! FI-GA-RO!” Mischief and matchmaking run rampant when opera’s most famous barber returns to Dayton. Figaro not only cuts hair, but he is also a schemer and a matchmaker like no other. When the ardent young Count Almaviva needs a hand wooing high-spirited Rosina, he turns to Figaro to help him outwit Rosina’s selfish old guardian, Dr. Bartolo. Buoyed by Rossini’s bubbling music, this zany romance sweeps you along through unexpected twists and turns until an ending that leaves everyone smiling from ear to ear.
After a famously disastrous opening night that left the composer in tears, The Barber of Seville has gone on to become the most famous comic opera ever written. It’s impossible to resist Rossini’s sparkling score, combined with his unforgettable characters—irrepressible Figaro, love-smitten Almaviva, sly Rosina, crotchety Dr. Bartolo, and Don Basilio, Rosina’s pretentious windbag of a voice teacher.
Along the way audiences will hear a gem of the baritone repertoire when Figaro introduces himself in one of the jolliest, trickiest arias ever, “Largo al factotum,” known to most by its memorable “Figaro, Figaro, Figaro!” interjection. Rossini’s delightful work is also a great starter opera for your children, who will likely recognize some of the melodic music from Bugs Bunny’s “Rabbit of Seville” cartoon.
Dayton Opera is thrilled to welcome back for her eleventh engagement with Dayton Opera director Kathleen Clawson. Kathleen is no stranger to Dayton audiences, having appeared three times as a guest soloist with Dayton Philharmonic. She has been directing operas with Dayton Opera since 2009, including The Elixir of Love, La Traviata, Faust, Fidelio, La bohème, Lucia di Lammermoor, Aida, The Magic Flute, Otello, and last season’s Abduction from the Seraglio. When not in Dayton or visiting other opera companies across the country, Kathleen devotes all of her time in her actual home of New Mexico as professor at the University of New Mexico, where she heads the degree program in Musical Theatre, and as Assistant Director of the Apprentice Program for Singers at Santa Fe Opera.
Clinton Smith, Music Director of Orchestra Seattle and the Seattle Chamber Singers, will take the podium for the first time at Dayton Opera to conduct the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra for this production. Smith maintains a position on the music staff of Santa Fe Opera, where he most recently served as cover conductor for Die Fledermaus and Handel’s Alcina. Additionally, he has served on the music staffs of Juilliard Opera, Minnesota Opera, Atlanta Opera, Portland Opera, Kentucky Opera and Ash Lawn Opera, and he will also make his debut this season conducting with Tacoma Opera, Fargo-Moorhead Opera and Opera Las Vegas.
For the lead role of Figaro, Dayton Opera welcomes to the stage for the first time baritone Jarrett Ott. Ott’s career is clearly on the rise as he has performed lead roles across the country in masterworks like The Magic Flute, Orpheus in the Underworld, and Candide, and in the 2016-2017 season, he made his European debut at Deutsche Opera Berlin. Ott was recently named one of twenty-five “Rising Stars” by Opera News, which described his voice as having an “often ravishing, airy vocal finish.”
Also making her Dayton Opera debut in this production as Rosina is mezzo-soprano Alyssa Martin. Hailed by Opera News as “vocally distinctive,” Martin is quickly garnering attention as a standout young singer. She was recently tenured as an Apprentice Artist at the Santa Fe Opera, and she has since held key roles with Santa Fe Opera, Arizona Opera, and Dallas Opera. Martin will also make her Kennedy Center debut this upcoming season in Credo. As a young vocalist, Martin won the prestigious Dayton Opera Guild College Vocal Competition.
Rounding out the three lead roles for this production, as well as a third Dayton Opera debut, is Carlos Enrique Santelli in the role of Count Almaviva. For the past two summers, Santelli was also a member of Santa Fe Opera’s distinguished Apprentice Artist Program. This past summer was a particularly notable season as he made his principal role debut with Santa Fe Opera as Arturo in a new production of Lucia di Lammermoor. Like Martin, Santelli also won the prestigious Dayton Opera Guild College Vocal Competition during his training at the university level.
Bass-baritone Thomas Hammons returns to Dayton Opera for a tenth production in the role of Bartolo, having last performed in the Schuster Center in The Consul this past October. Hammons has been acclaimed throughout the United States and Canada and across Europe for the depth and richness of his portrayals and the strength and beauty of his singing. A versatile singing actor, Hammons has an active repertoire of over 60 roles spanning a variety of genres from the classical buffo repertoire to the world of contemporary music to modern musical theater.
Praised as singing with “an impressive focus, carrying power and quiet charisma” by the New York Times, bass Harold Wilson takes the stage for his third time with Dayton Opera, this time in the role of Basilio. Wilson has built an impressive résumé over the last 16 years, with performances spanning the globe and including roles in such magnificent opera houses as Deutsche Opera Berlin and the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Wilson will return to Dayton Opera once again this season as Timur in the upcoming May 2018 production of Turandot.
Three of Dayton Opera’s 2017-2018 Artists-in-Residence will also be appearing in this production. Mezzo-soprano Noragh Devlin will be making her Dayton Opera main stage debut as Berta, a servant to Bartolo and confidante of Rosina. Tenor Michael Anderson will also be making his Dayton Opera debut in the role of The Sergeant. Baritone Alexander Harper will perform the role of Fiorello, having just recently appeared on the Schuster Center stage as Assan in The Consul and previously in the role of Morales in the May 2017 production of Carmen. In addition, Dayton writer, director, educator and actor Jake Lockwood will appear in the role of Ambrogio, servant to Bartolo.
The ever-versatile men of the Dayton Opera Chorus, under the direction and leadership of Chorus Master Jeffrey Powell, take to the stage again to add their choral expertise.
Whether you’re an opera lover or a newbie to opera, The Barber of Seville is a classic comedic gem that is sure to lift your spirits out of the winter blues this March!
Want to learn even more about The Barber of Seville? Come one hour prior to both performances to hear pre-performance talks presented by UD Music Professor Dr. Sam Dorf inside the Mead Theatre.
Tickets for The Barber of Seville range from $28 to $94 and are available at www.daytonperformingarts.org or by calling Ticket Center Stage at (937) 228-3630. Senior, student, and military discounts are available. For more information on tickets, or how to subscribe to the 2017-2018 The Great Ones Season, visit www.daytonperformingarts.org.