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The madcap story unfolds fast and furious in 18th-century Seville, Spain.

Young Rosina (Alice Ann Light) is a wealthy orphan and the ward of grasping, old Dr. Bartolo (David Malis), who is plotting to marry Rosina not only for her beauty, but for her substantial dowry.

Rosina has two things on her side: the handsome Count Almaviva (Jonathan Ray), who has fallen in love with her, and the town barber, Figaro (Darren Drone), her conniving accomplice, who through clever disguises and quick wit succeeds in securing victory for the young couple. Composed 30 years after Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, The Barber of Seville

is based on the first of French playwright Pierre Beaumarchais's trilogy of plays, Le Barbier de Séville (1775).

With a libretto by Cesare Sterbini, Rossini’s masterpiece is full of effervescent music and never-ending wit.

It contains some of the most popular music in opera, including the easily recognizable overture to the refrain

“Figaro, Figaro, Figaro!”

in the aria “Largo al factotum.” The Barber of Seville is the most admired of Rossini’s comedic works and, according to Opera America,

is in the top five operas performed in the United States.

 

Italian composer Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868) is highly regarded as one of the great opera composers of the 19th century. Rossini began his operatic career at the age of eighteen and would compose roughly forty operas, his last at the age of 37. His comedic operas The Barber of Seville, La Cenerentola, The Italian Girl in Algiers, and The Turk in Italy remain his most popular works, as well as Guillaume Tell (William Tell), primarily remembered for its famous overture.

 

Opera In The Rock’s production includes Louis Menendez as conductor and music director; David Ward as stage director; Arlene Biebesheimer as producer; set design by Drew Posey; lighting design by Laura Dowling; Geoffrey Robson as assistant music director and chorus master; Jaimee Jensen McDaniel as assistant stage director and props master; costumes by Debi Manire; and Brian Conatser, rehearsal accompanist.

 

The Barber of Seville cast features:

Praised by Opera Today for her “sumptuous mezzo . . . beautifully even tone, a very wide range, and a sound technique,” mezzo-soprano Alice-Anne Light (Rosina) possesses a versatile and colorful voice that has led her to success in opera, musical theatre, art song, oratorio, and concert repertoire. Recent appearances include Augusta Tabor in The Ballad of Baby Doe with Central City Opera, Thisbe in La Cenerentola with the Bar Harbor Music Festival, and Erika in Vanessa at Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theater. Originally from Searcy, Alice Anne is thrilled to be returning to Arkansas for this production.

 

Jonathan Ray, tenor, makes his Opera In The Rock debut as Count Almavia. He recently completed his doctoral studies in Vocal Performance and Choral Conducting at Louisiana State University, where he studied with Robert Grayson and taught courses in undergraduate diction, class voice, and applied voice lessons to undergraduate and graduate students. In 2014, he received his master’s degree in Vocal Performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In 2010, he received his bachelor’s degree in Music Education at Arkansas Tech University. Jonathan has appeared with such companies as the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, Greensboro Opera, St. Petersburg Opera, and Opera in the Ozarks, He has performed lead roles in such productions as L’italiana in Algeri, La Traviata, La Cenerentola, Don Giovanni, Béatrice et Bénédict, L’elisir d’amore, Albert Herring, Die Zauberflöte, Candide, and Gianni Schicchi. Jonathan is native of Dover, Arkansas, who is currently living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

 

Darren Drone is happy to be making his second appearance with Opera in the Rock as Figaro in The Barber of Seville! Recent credits include Zurga in The Pearl Fishers with Tulsa Opera, Tiny Joe in Dreamgirls with the Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, soloist with Signature Symphony in Mozart’s Requiem, Masetto in Don Giovanni with Opera Neo. Upcoming credits include Scarpia in Tosca with Tulsa Opera, and Ping (cover) in Turandot with Des Moines Metro Opera as an apprentice artist. Darren is from Sherwood, Arkansas, and currently lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

 

David Malis (Dr. Bartolo), the first American to win the prestigious Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, began his operatic career with the San Francisco Opera, making his debut as Papageno in Die Zauberflöte. Mr. Malis' made his Metropolitan Opera in the Parks debut as Belcore in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, in a production that included Luciano Pavarotti, Kathleen Battle and Giuseppe Taddei. This was quickly followed by his Metropolitan Opera mainstage debut as Marcello in La Bohème. Recent engagements include the title role in the title role of Gianni Schicchi at the Festival of the Aegean in Syros, Greece, Verdi’s Falstaff with Atlanta Opera and Emerald City Opera, the title role in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale in Lucca, Italy, Belcore in L’elisir d’amore with Cleveland Opera, Germont in La Traviata with Arizona Opera, and a critically acclaimed role debut as Kurwenal in a recording of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde for Titanic Records. A native of Winter Haven, Florida, he is currently Director of Opera and Assistant Professor of Voice at the University of Arkansas.

 

Andrew Simpson (Basilio) bass-baritone, studied with the great bass Samuel Ramey at Wichita State. Andrew has been an apprentice artist at Central City Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Palm Beach Opera and Santa Fe Opera. Angelotti in Tosca with the Wichita Grand Opera, Betto di Signa in Gianni Schicchi with the Chicago Opera Theater, the footman in Vanessa at the Santa Fe Opera, the Imperial Commissioner in Madama Butterfly and Count Ceprano in Rigoletto with the Palm Beach Opera. Andrew will be returning to the Palm Beach Opera for the 2018 season where he will cover Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, and sing Antonio, and sing the Jailer in Tosca. Andrew is originally from Dallas, Texas, and currently lives in Chicago, Illinois.

 

Mezzo-soprano Suzanne Loerch (Berta) has performed roles with the Tulsa, Cincinnati, Ashlawn-Highland, and Central City, Colorado, opera companies. As a winner of the Liederkranz Competition in New York City, she performed the title role in Massenet’s Cendrillon (Cinderella). Other favorite roles include Rosina; Dorabella (Cosi fan tutte); Hansel; Carmen, as an Apprentice Artist with the Central City Opera; and Angelina (La Cerentola, Rossini) with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. Suzanne has sung recitals across the United States as well as in Eastern Europe, the Ukraine and the Netherlands, and is an ardent small ensemble and contemporary chamber musician. She has degrees in voice from SUNY Purchase and the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. She has taught at the University of Virginia, the University of Central Arkansas, Hendrix College and UA Pulaski Tech. She lives and teaches in Little Rock with her husband, cellist Stephen Feldman, their two children and their dogs.

 

Baritone Ferris Allen (Fiorello) has performed with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Opera In The Rock, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, the Teatro Colón, American Opera Theater, Aspen Opera Theater, BAM, and Apollo’s Fire.  Opera News called his performance in William Bolcom’s A Wedding the most “enjoyable,” “subtle” and “best acted” of opening night. After studies at Oberlin Conservatory, the Juilliard School and Indiana University, Ferris served on the faculties of Indiana University, Oberlin Conservatory, Wabash College and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.  He is currently Director of Music at National Park College, and his students can be found performing in graduate, young artist and professional venues across the United States.

 

 

Barber of Seville Men’s Chorus includes: Tenors Chase Burns, Andy Gerstenberger, Brent Miller, Gates Smith, Christopher Straw, and Josiah Wheeler; Baritones Luke Frauenthal, Charles Holloway, Matthew Lyon, Ron McDaniel, and Sam Prescott.

 

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For information and media involving our previous events, see Production History