sarah coburn is in town

and she‘s the reason you should go check out Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, performed by the Boston Lyric Opera between now and March 18.  I actually have heard Ms. Coburn once as Gilda in LA Opera’s Rigoletto in 2010, and remember mentioning somewhere I really liked her voice (may be on my blog?)

Last night show got started a bit sluggish in part due to the boring exchange between a low-key Fiorello and an unmotivated Count Almaviva.  This is always the hurdle for the Barber of Seville it seems: slow music, loads of male voice chattering to (somewhat) slow tempo, and dragging exchange between the 2 male singers.  I once saw Juan Diego Florez in this role, he got our attention! Not quite this night.  Figaro came along to bring up the mood.  Jonathan Beyer’s Figaro is quite charming. He sang and acted the character well, though not the most extrovert Figaro you have encountered (but already a huge contrast to the Count on this night).  The whole show quickly lighted up the moment Rosina’s trill is heard through the window.  It’s probably the most ornamented “Una voce poco fa” I’ve ever heard, but Sarah Coburn’s singing fits in just right with the acting to present a witty, rebellious, and resilient Rosina (especially the second “Ma!” after telling us she is really a reasonable and obedient girl.)  Though a soprano, she has a very warm voice that our ears just simply *love* when heard live.



Too bad she doesn’t have as much singing-time in this opera, and her duets with the Count, during the lesson and in the bedroom during the escape scene, make one scratching head wondering why the heck she’s falling in love with this wimp!  In fact, you have to remind yourself it’s not she who’s doing the rescuing here.

All other characters are also very good in their roles.  Steven Condy is a very believable Dr. Bartolo with a great delivery of his sole featured aria “Don’t pull that crap on me, a Doctor in my position would know” to Rosina.  David Cushing has a GORGEOUS voice for Don Basilio, toooo bad he has respiratory infection (!!) and couldn’t sing his famous “this is how rumor spread” aria.  Judith Christin delivered her only aria “there’s a love bug in the air” nicely in the role of the servant Berta, though i’m not really a fan of her voice.  To be fair, the Count sang all his notes, just that it’s somehow along the uncertain line of ‘ehh heh ehehe he” instead Of With EnerGy and PAssioN as it should be for a Count.

The staging is great! instead of loads of large pushable/wheel-able sets, we have curtains with columns and such drawn/painted on that quickly got pulled up/dropped down between scenes.  The comedy was just right, nothing over the top or interfering, all within the flow.  we all had a great fun time full of laughters and awe (at Sarah Coburn’s ability).

and altogether, very jolly music.

(ps- this was my 3rd time hearing Rosina live, 1st was Kasarova’s and 2nd Joyce DiDonato’s 🙂 🙂 )

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About thả diều
writing-challenged opera-addict

10 Responses to sarah coburn is in town

  1. This sounds like it was so much fun!

    Was the version of it that you saw with DiDonato that brightly colored London production where she broke her leg?

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    • thả diều says:

      no, i think it was before she broke her leg, i saw her and JDF in LA opera back in 2009. i must have seen the set somewhere on YT, he was dressing nicely in a bright PINK suit happily delivering his extra aria (of the same music to Cenerentola’s finale). here it is, exact setting. JDD was greeeat!

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  2. Eyesometric says:

    You saw VK Rosina *live* ??

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    • thả diều says:

      good morning Eyes! yes i did, on my first trip to see her live (all paid for in the name of science 😉 ). Here’re some photos: 1 , 2 , 3 . Her “Una voce poco fa” was the least ornamented of the ones I’ve heard, but what i loved most about the performance was how her voice mixed in the with ensemble. She’s got such a smooth beautiful and bright tone it really stood out yet mixed in wonderfully with the all-male cast. And the acting was adorable. I’d love to see her live as Isabella in L’Italiana in Algeri some day. (and i got the order mixed up, saw her after JDD clearly.)

      ps- on that same long-winded trip, saw VK in Werther (freshly jet-lagged after 24hr flight), Netrebko + Krasteva in Carmen (Garanca cancelled), and Genaux in Cenerentola :-).

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  3. Eyesometric says:

    Happily long-winded it seems! and pre blogging days?
    You are one lucky WS 🙂

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    • jcmwee says:

      and with camera too!!! How ever did you sneak that in and use it?

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      • thả diều says:

        oh, that wasn’t my camera! that’s from a different performance, in Florida in fact. well, i haven’t tried anything since a long time… first time (pokupic) ended up with me breathing very hard while she was singing (!!) and 2nd i blocked the entire camera during VK’s “verdi prati” :-D. personally i also love mezzo voice as rosina, much more “clever” and “calculated”, but her (Coburn) voice was quite warm. cross-fach: does it mean the music is also shifted? and sorry, i might have missed it from looong time ago, but are you a mezzo? alto? soprano? singer-a-la-antonacci ? 🙂

        @Eyes: ah, that long winded trip was the motivation for this blog :-). lucky WS: well, you know there are several (underground) insiders who attended almost every other VK’s run ? i *jealous* !

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  4. jcmwee says:

    I’ve been doing a bit of fach-crossing lately, but I still like my Rosina a mezzo… just personally.

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  5. Eyesometric says:

    fach-crossing …… sounds dangerous!

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