The Athena Grand Opera Company will present two performances of Rossini’s Barber of Seville, Feb. 27 and 29, at the Classic Center in downtown Athens. The Feb. 27 performance begins at 8 p.m.; the Feb. 29 show begins at 3 p.m. The Athena Grand Opera Company is a cooperative venture between the Classic Center and the UGA School of Music. This production marks the sixth opera produced by the company.
Gioachino Rossini’s Barber of Seville is considered one of the funniest operas ever written. The audience will find some of the music surprisingly familiar, and will be tapping their toes and humming when they leave. The barber of the title is Figaro, who uses his conspiratorial talents to help a visiting count pay court to the lady of his choice. He is the same Figaro whose own later marriage is the subject of Mozart’s earlier opera The Marriage of Figaro; Rossini’s Barber is an early example of what is now sometimes called a “prequel.”
Internationally acclaimed stage director Bodo Igesz directs this year’s performance. He also directed last year’s Athena Grand Opera Company performance of Madame Butterfly. In addition to directing the Metropolitan Opera in New York for 23 years, Igesz has staged operas in Santa Fe, Caracas, Santiago and San Juan.
The conductor for Barber is Mark Cedel, director of orchestral activities in the School of Music. Allen Crowell, director of choral activities, will be the chorus master.
Professionals from around the country will perform the lead roles in the opera, with UGA students rounding out the cast. Figaro will be sung by baritone Constantinos Yiannoudes, a native of Cyprus who has performed with numerous opera companies around the United States and is currently completing a doctorate in musical arts at the City University of New York. Rosina will be played by Helen Todd, who was trained at DePaul University and the University of Cincinnati and was a regional winner of the Metropolitan Opera competition, among many awards. Sean Fallen, Count Almaviva, is currently singing with the New York City Opera and received his master’s degree from Indiana University. Matthew Lau, who has sung with several opera companies around the country, plays Dr. Bartolo. Basilio will be sung by Daniel Cory, who has also performed in many venues and who appeared in the Athena Grand Opera Company’s production of The Marriage of Figaro in 2002.
Tickets for The Barber of Seville are available at the box office in the Classic Center for $15-$45. Phone orders are accepted at 357-4444.