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August 20, 2008 > Fremont Opera presents The Barber of Seville

Fremont Opera presents The Barber of Seville

Submitted By David Sloss

Fremont Opera is proud to announce its second season production of Rossini's beloved comic opera, The Barber of Seville. Performed at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts at Ohlone College, this semi-staged production features a cast of outstanding artists from all over the country. David Sloss conducts the Fremont Symphony Orchestra, and Jonathon Field returns as Stage Director.

The best-known of Rossini's many works, this is the opera which introduced the irrepressible Figaro to audiences all over world. The story tells how the young and ardent Count Almaviva, with Figaro's help, steals the vivacious Rosina from her dimwitted guardian. Disguise, intrigue, deception, and even a mighty storm all contribute to the fun. From the familiar overture to the famous "Figaro, Figaro, Figaro!" the music sparkles with melody, wit, and humor.

Baritone Eugene Brancoveanu, who appears as Figaro, has been seen in many roles with San Francisco Opera. He has also sung with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, New York City Opera, and originated the role of Marcello in Baz Luhrmann's Broadway La Boh¸me.

In the role of Rosina, Canadian soprano Nikki Einfeld has been hailed for her "high flying virtuosity" (New York Times) as well as "a bright, lithe tone, pinpoint accuracy and a saucy stage demeanor" (San Francisco Chronicle). A former Adler Fellow with the San Francisco Opera, she was also a Grand Finalist in the 2006 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

Bass Kirk Eichelberger, who appeared as Colline in Fremont Opera's La Boh¸me in 2007, returns in the role of Basilio. For much of this season he has been at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, appearing in Shostakovich's The Gamblers, and covering roles in Verdi's Macbeth and Ernani, as well as Wagner's Tristan & Isolde.

22-year-old tenor Eleazar Rodriguez, who sings the role of Count Almaviva, has already appeared at the Kennedy Center, as part of the Center's Conservatory Project series. Also this season he sang the title role in Cavalli's L'Egisto at Fort Mason Center. "A heroic marathon...the voice is so right and true, its beauty so great," said SF Classical Voice.

"Jason Budd as Bartolo was the definition of a buffo bass: rotund, blustery, funny, with an alluring, deep-chested voice," said the Detroit Free-Press of his recent appearance in
the role he will reprise here. Mr. Budd is also a frequent performer at Orlando Opera, Virginia Opera, Nashville Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland, and Michigan Opera Theatre.

Also in the cast will be mezzo-soprano Elspeth Franks as Berta, baritone Nikolaus Schiffmann as Fiorello, singer/actor Eric Wenburg as Ambrogio, and Fremont attorney Robert Wieckowski as the Notary.

David Sloss, Fremont Opera's conductor, Artistic Director and founder, comes to this project with many years of experience. Since 1980, he has been Music Director and Conductor of the Fremont Symphony, which also serves as the orchestra for Fremont Opera. During his long association with West Bay Opera, beginning in 1981, he conducted over twenty productions for the Palo Alto company. He served as General Director of West Bay Opera from 1997 to 2005, and as stage director for several productions as well. He has conducted operas for Pacific Repertory Opera, Berkeley Opera, the Lamplighters, the San Francisco Talent Bank, and the Oakland Symphony. He has also worked as a producer and director for WGBH-TV in Boston, where he received an Emmy nomination for the National Educational Television series A Roomful of Music.

Jonathon Field, who returns to Fremont Opera to stage The Barber of Seville, has directed over ninety productions throughout the United States. His directing credits include Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera's Western Opera Theatre, Seattle Opera, Arizona Opera, Opera Omaha, and Lake George Opera. He assisted Robert Altman with the world premiere of William Bolcom's McTeague in Chicago, and David Alden with Conrad Susa's The Love of Don Perlimplin in San Francisco. As Artistic Director of Lyric Opera Cleveland, Mr. Field staged a 2002 production of Don Giovanni which was nominated for the Northern Ohio Live Award of Achievement. Other notable productions at Lyric Opera Cleveland have included Little Women, and a unique Cos“ fan tutte in which the audience votes to choose one of three alternative endings.

The Barber of Seville
(In Italian with English supertitles)
Friday, August 22, 8 p.m.
Sunday, August 24, 2 p.m.
Smith Center for the Performing Arts
Ohlone College
43600 Mission Blvd., Fremont
(510) 474-1004

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