On Wednesday night, 360 Magazine had the pleasure of viewing Teatro Nuovo‘s The Barber of Seville. While we were originally visiting Chicago on assignment, after finding out about this monumental production, we knew it couldn’t be missed. We immediately dropped what we were doing and used our Amtrak monthly pass to dash to Damrosch Park in New York City.
Our experience was impressive from the start as soon as we entered the space. Damrosch Park is part of the Lincoln Center complex nearby Fordham University Lincoln Center. It includes the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim outdoor bandshell in the greenspace’s center. The park encompasses the Metropolitan Opera House, the New York State Theater (now the David H. Koch Theater), and Philharmonic Hall (later Avery Fisher Hall and now David Geffen Hall).
The opera buffa invited in guests with a whimsical atmosphere of musical merrymaking. This classic two-act opera, originally by Gioachino Rossini with an Italian libretto by Cesare Sterbini, was developed into a cutting-edge interpretation by Teatro Nuovo–Italian for the new theater. The expansive stage, which included a backdrop with soft, rosy clouds, was decorated with a cast of performers donning black-tie apparel. The rostrum was well-lit and easily viewable from all angles of the venue.
The enchanted lighting cast a sultry wash of deep blue hues over all the guests in attendance. Opera enthusiasts of all ages were present for one of the first shows since lockdown. Joining us were people from all ages, races and walks of life: biracial couples, youthful gay couples, and arts aficionados who appeared to be well into their 90s. This sensual, post-pandemic moment of calm finally brought New York’s community of playwrights, musical lovers, and opera fans together yet again.
This marvelous production of The Barber of Seville has surely been long-awaited by many – a worthy cause for celebration. Still, Teatro Nuovo employed all current CDC guidelines. Similar to the seating at fashion shows, guests were organized into pods of two people. Security guards were also present at the venue to enforce these restrictions.
The orchestra was unbelievably incredible, climaxing to a crashing cadenza that captivated the entire audience. Impressively, the conductor of the show also played violin. The cast was headlined by mezzo-soprano Hannah Ludwig. She was joined by the Figaro of Bass, Hans Tashjian, and the Almaviva of tenor, Nicholas Simpson. The three artists are additionally accompanied by soprano Alina Tamborini as Berta, bass Daniel Fridley as Don Basilio, and baritones Scott Purcell and Kyle Oliver as Bartolo and Fiorello, respectively. All of the singers had impressive skill and exhibited raw, uninhibited talent. Their on-stage vulnerability lent for an impassioned delivery which was impactful to all who were lucky enough to hear it. Bellowing vocals swelled the venue with their prolific pipes.
The opera included an intermission, which kindly allowed for guests to relive themselves and enjoy the provided refreshments.
The classic tale of this passionate love story enraptured the audience of emotional fans. 360 Magazine had goosebumps and became teary-eyed at the sublime, awe-inspiring rendition. The vibrant energy of love made one of our team members wish that their parents were still alive to witness this event. This romantic, operatic show was reminiscent of a foreign film gone wild. Fortunately, sub-captions were included.
Teatro Nuovo’s production of The Barber of Seville was truly the performance of a lifetime. 360 Magazine can now joyously cross seeing this spectacular show off of our bucket list.
A standing ovation for Teatro Nuovo’s The Barber of Seville can be viewed HERE.
*Photo credit: Steven Pisano
Kyle Olliver (Fiorello), Teatro Nuovo chorus. Photo Credit: Steven Pisano.
Hans Tashjian (Figaro), Hannah Ludwig (Rosina), Nicholas Simpson (Almaviva). Photo credit: Steven Pisano.
Hannah Ludwig (Rosina), Nicholas Simpson (Almaviva). Photo credit: Steven Pisano.