Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

WORKS: Il barbiere di Siviglia
PERFORMER: Elina Garanca, Lawrence Brownlee, Nathan Gunn, Bruno de Simone, Kirstinn Sigmundsson, Giovanna Donadini, Roberto Accurso; Munich Radio Chorus & Orchestra/Miguel Gómez-Martínez
CATALOGUE NO: 82876 80429 2
This multinational Barber, founded


on the excellent forces of Munich

Radio, provides a presentable

modern version of the score, though

one or two of the singers – notably

the Latvian mezzo Elina Garan?a’s

Rosina, and the Italian baritone

Bruno de Simone’s Bartolo – are

not as adept with the coloratura

as one has come to expect over the

course of the Rossini revival. On

the other hand, Garan?a’s warmth

and depth of tone are exceptional,

even if her characterisation is overly

earnest, while De Simone provides a

traditional curmudgeonly Sevillian

doctor. American baritone Nathan

Gunn’s Figaro is disappointing.

Though there’s some welcome

personality on display, his is a

vocally lightweight approach and

he’s careless with note values. The

cavernous voice of the Icelandic

bass Kristinn Sigmundsson fits

him out aptly for Don Basilio.

The prime reason for acquiring

the set is American tenor Lawrence

Brownlee’s Almaviva. His is a highly

attractive light-lyric tenor, his tone

combining warmth with brilliance,

and as well as fluent coloratura his

singing possesses musical grace. He

fully deserves the last-Act aria ‘Cessa

di più resistere’, which is regularly cut

from performances and recordings.

Apart from Brownlee, the

most recommendable element is

Miguel Gómez-Martínez’s spirited

conducting. But the rest is just

so-so, and hardly likely to displace

the classic 1962 account with De

Los Angeles, Luigi Alva and Sesto

Bruscantini under Vittorio Gui from


many people’s affections. George Hall