By Carey Purcell
03 Jan 2014
|Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN|
The production, which also marks Ashford's debut with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, will feature Nathan Gunn, Alek Shrader, Isabel Leonard, Alessandro Corbelli and Kyle Ketelsen. Michele Mariotti will conduct.
Here's how the production is billed: "Based on the first of a series of uproarious comic plays by Beaumarchais, the eponymous barber Figaro (baritone Nathan Gunn) is the ultimate fixer, running around solving everyone's problems — and boasting about it in the famous 'Largo al factotum' aria, 'Figaro, Figaro, Figaro!' He involves himself in a love triangle, helping Count Almaviva (tenor Alek Shrader) woo and win the beautiful Rosina (mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, debut) away from her old lecherous guardian Dr. Bartolo (baritone Alessandro Corbelli), who keeps her under lock and key. All hell breaks loose not once but twice — first, when Almaviva disguises himself as a drunken soldier, and then when he presents himself as a replacement for Rosina's supposedly indisposed music master, Don Basilio (bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen). Of course, with Figaro's invaluable assistance, all eventually ends happily for Almaviva and his beloved Rosina."
"Directing a Rossini comedy is extraordinarily difficult because the production needs to remain true to its commedia dell'arte roots, while at the same time having a kind of zany, off-the-wall comic skill," general director Anthony Freud said in a statement. "I've seen several of Rob Ashford's productions on Broadway and elsewhere, which confirmed for me that he is exactly the right director to take on this piece."
Tickets and more information are available by calling (312) 827-5600 or visiting http://lyricopera.org.