PANOPERA is bringing Rossini’s iconic comedy to the Academy of Music as their 7th full opera. Since its inception, PANOPERA has sought to bring together some of the best singers, instrumentalists, directors and designers in the region to produce grand opera in the Valley. Barber will be no different, and will once again be presented in its original language with English supertitles and full orchestra under the baton of Jonathan Hirsh, who has previously joined PANOPERA to conduct their 2018 production of La Traviata.
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Conductor Jonathan Hirsh has garnered the respect and praise of audiences, colleagues, and critics throughout the United States and abroad. As Director of Orchestral and Choral Activities at Smith College since 1997, Hirsh has conducted much of the standard orchestral, choral-orchestral, and choral repertoire.
“I’m honored and very happy to have been asked again to guest conduct by Panopera. This company is a local jewel, presenting high quality, professional, artist-cooperative productions right here in Northampton. The classic, quintessential comic opera, the Barber of Seville has so many madcap antics and recognizable tunes, it is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Those of us in the orchestra pit will do our best to remain true to the score and its vivacious accompaniments. From the stage the audience will witness a new experience as the creative team intends a modern setting of this timeless masterpiece.”
Sam Samuels (who has previously performed with PANOPERA as Benoit and Alcindoro in La Bohème and as Beadle Bamford in Sweeney Todd) will be returning to the company to direct Barber.
“This piece is classic but at its heart it’s irreverent. It’s about fun – poking it at doctors, at scholars, at lords, at soldiers, at lovers. Our production will be irreverent too, finding the fun in a penniless but determined opera troupe piecing together their production from whatever backstage odds and ends they can scrape together or improvise. Not unlike Figaro himself, that supreme trickster who seems to find gold in any situation.”
In other Valley venues, Mr. Samuels has appeared at New Century Theatre in A Walk in the Woods, The 39 Steps, Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Lend Me a Tenor, and Distracted; at Silverthorne in Tar2f!; in the 24-Hour Theatre Project; and with the Ha-Has in Scripted/Unscripted.
“I’m thrilled to have my Valley directorial debut be The Barber. This is truly one of the great comedies – dare I say farces – for the stage. These characters – the high and the low, the clever and the witless – will stop at nothing for a shiny gold coin or a stolen moment with their forbidden lover. The disguises, tricks, flirtations, and outbursts are all to great comic effect, heightened by Rossini’s gorgeous, effervescent music.”
PANOPERA presents The Barber of Seville at the Academy of Music in Northampton, January 24 and January 26.
Tickets at aomtheatre.com