The Barber of Seville

  • Friday, May 30, 2014 at 7:30 pm
    Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 7:00 pm
    Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 2:30 pm
  • Century II Concert Hall

                  The Barber of Seville

Friday, May 30, 2014, 7:30 PM – Stiefel Theatre, Salina, KS

Saturday, May 31, 2014, 7:00 PM – Orpheum Theatre, Wichita, KS

Sunday, June 1, 2014, 2:30 PM – McPherson Opera House, McPherson, KS

An Comic Opera in Two Acts
Sung in a new English translation by Marcie Stapp

Original libretto in Italian by Cesare Sterbini
After the play “Le Barbiere de Séville” by Pierre Baumarchais
World Premiere: Teatro Argentina, Rome, February 20, 1816

Producer                                                                         Parvan Bakardiev

Conductor                                                                     Ken Hakoda

Set Design                                                                      Stefan Pavlov

Lighting Design                                                             Tyler Lessin

Costume Design                                                            Susan Memmott



FIGARO, the Barber of Seville                                                     Michael Nansel

ROSINA                                                                                       Sharin Apostolou

DR. BARTOLO, Rosina’s guardian                                           Charles Turley

COUNT ALMAVIVA                                                                  Brenton Ryan

DON BASILIO, a music teacher                                                 William Powers

FIORELLO, a servant of Count Almaviva                                 Kevin Eckard

BERTA, a servant of Dr. Bartolo                                                  Kaitlyn Costello

AMBROGIO, a servant of Dr. Bartolo                                         Mirko D’Angelo *


CHORUS: Officers, soldiers, policemen, a notary. *WGO Resident Artists    †WGO Young Artists



Seville, Spain, late 1600s





Doctor Bartolo, guardian of the beautiful Rosina, keeps her under lock and key in his house in the hopes of marrying her for the large dowry she will inherit. One evening, the wealthy Count Almaviva hires a band of musicians to help him serenade Rosina beneath her window. When she doesn’t respond to his song, he sends the musicians away, and hides as he hears Figaro, the town barber, approaching.


Figaro eventually recognizes the Count and – for a suitable reward – promises to help him win Rosina’s heart. As Bartolo leaves his house to arrange a marriage to Rosina, Almaviva attempts a second serenade for Rosina, calling himself “Lindoro”. Figaro suggests that Almaviva disguise himself as a soldier seeking his lodgings to gain entrance to the Doctor’s house.


Inside, Rosina resolves to outwit her guardian. Figaro comes to see her to set his plans in motion, but is forced to hide as Bartolo returns with the music master, Don Basilio. Basilio has heard that Almaviva is in Seville, and advises Bartolo to slander his reputation. Impatient, Bartolo decides it will be faster simply marry Rosina right away. Figaro overhears, and offers to deliver a note to Rosina’s “Lindoro.”


Bartolo suspiciously questions Rosina about her stealthy activities, boasting that he is far to clever to be fooled. He is interrupted by the arrival of a loud, drunken soldier – Almaviva in disguise! Almaviva uses the ensuing ruckus to slip a love note to Rosina. The Doctor demands to see the note just as Figaro arrives warning that the commotion is attracting a crowd – not to mention the soldiers that barge in to quiet the disturbance. As an officer attempts to arrest the drunken soldier, Almaviva whispers his name and is instantly released. Bartolo’s household is bewildered at this turn of events while Figaro chuckles, watching his plan unfold.



Bartolo welcomes Don Alonso, a young music teacher (and once again Almaviva in disguise), into his house. “Don Alonso” claims he has come to teach Rosina’s lessons for the day because Basilio is not feeling well. Still suspicious, Bartolo begins to send him away, but “Alonso” shows him a note from Rosina to “Lindoro.” He offers to find out more about this myserious “Lindoro” and Bartolo allows him to stay.


Rosina recognizes her “Lindoro” and begins her lesson while Bartolo dozes off in his chair. Figaro arrives unexpectedly to shave the Doctor and, in the commotion, manages to steal the key to Rosina’s balcony window. Don Basilio arrives unexpectedly, but Almaviva convinces Bartolo they must send Basilio away so he doesn’t ruin their plans. They bribe Basilio to fake an illness and leave, and Figaro finally begins to shave Bartolo. Meanwhile, Almaviva and Rosina make plans to elope that night. When the Doctor overhears, he throws Figaro and Almaviva out, and sends Rosina to her room.


That evening, Bartolo sends Basilio out to bring in a notary and, using the note he received from “Don Alonso”, fools Rosina into believing Lindoro is one of Count Almaviva’s henchmen. He leaves and, under cover of a thunderstorm, Almaviva and Figaro climb through the balcony window to rescue Rosina. She resists their help until Almaviva reveals that he and “Lindoro” are one and the same.


Almaviva and Rosina rejoice as Figaro urges them to leave quickly, but they find someone has removed their ladder. Basilio returns with the notary, and Almaviva wastes no time in bribing him to serve as a witness as he marries Rosina. Rushing in too late, Bartolo finds the lovers already wed and grudgingly accepts his fate.


To read more about the story and history of The Barber of Sevilleclick here.


Star Bios


Michael Nansel

 Michael Nansel
Figaro, baritone

Wichita Grand Opera’s 2012 Singer of the Year, Michael Nansel, returns to Wichita following outstanding performances last season as the devious Iago in Otello and Dr. Malatesta in Don PasqualeThe Barber of Seville will reunite Mr. Nansel with acclaimed Stage Director James Marvel after critical success of Carmen in 2009. Mr. Nansel recently made his debut in the title role of Don Giovanni, and since 2004 he has performed with Washington National Opera in Andrea Chénier, the North American premiere of Sophie’s Choice, and La Bohéme, among others. He established himself as a principal soloist with the WGO following his critically acclaimed performances as Count Di Luna inIl Trovatore, Malatesta in Don Pasquale, and Prince Orlofsky inDie Fledermaus. Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with Yunah Lee and Alexey Sayapin, Count Danilo in The Merry Widow under the direction of noted director / choreographer Jayme McDaniel, Sergeant Sulpice in Daughter of the Regiment, Zuniga in Carmenwith renowned director James Marvel, and Belcore in The Elixir of Love.



Sharin Apostolou

Sharin Apostolou
Rosina, soprano

Sharin Apostolou returns to the WGO following her scene-stealing turn as Norina in Don Pasquale last season. Recently she stepped into the title role of Handel’s Rodelinda on short notice at Portland Opera. Critics raved that “the night belonged to Apostolou, a dynamic young talent.” Other recent highlights include Belinda in Dido and Aeneas at the Macau (China) International Music Festival, Nannetta in Falstaff for Utah Opera, both Clotilde inNorma and Argene in Rossini’s Ciro in Babilonia at the Caramoor Festival, and the title role of La Calisto at Portland Opera. In 2013, in addition to her WGO debut as Norina, she made her role debuts as Gilda in Rigoletto and Rosina in Rossini’s Barber of Sevillewith Shreveport Opera, and as Almirena in Handel’s Rinaldo with Portland Opera. Ms. Apostolou is a recent Sara Tucker Grant nominee and a Grand International Finalist in the Internazionale Competizione dell’Opera sponsored by the Dresden Semperopera and Bremen Opera.



Brenton Ryan

Brenton Ryan
Count Almaviva, tenor

Tenor Brenton Ryan is making his Houston Grand Opera debut this season as ‘Henrik’ in Sondheim’s A Little Night Music. Recently, he performed ‘Almaviva’ in The Barber of Seville with Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Opera in the Neighborhoods program, and completed a residency as a Filene Young Artist at the Wolf Trap Opera Company performing in Rossini’s Il viaggio a Reims and Verdi’s Falstaff. Mr. Ryan participated in two operatic world premieres in New York City in 2012, as well as a collaboration with the Metropolitan Opera for their New Opera Commissioning Program in 2013. Upcoming are engagements with Des Moines Metro Opera in Rossini’s Le Comte Ory and Verdi’s La Traviata, and Mr. Ryan will be joining the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program with the Los Angeles Opera this fall.



William Powers

William Powers
Don Basilio, bass-baritone

Metropolitan Opera bass-baritone William Powers returns to Wichita Grand Opera for a third time this season, a humorous change of pace following his appearances as the elder Melchthal in William Tell and Baron Scarpia in Tosca. Basilio is only one of nearly 100 roles Mr. Powers has offered in the world’s greatest opera theaters across the United States, Europe, and South America. Widely heard in national broadcasts on radio, Mr. Powers’ signature roles include villains from ToscaThe Tempest,FalstaffFidelioThe Tales of HoffmannThe Barber of Seville,Das RheingoldFaustOtelloTieflandMefistofeleBoris GodunovDon GiovanniSusannahAttila, and more. Last season Mr. Powers also made his debut in the role of Zaccaria in Verdi’s Nabucco with the Opéra de Massy (France).



Creative Team


James Marvel

James Marvel
Stage Director

James Marvel returns to Wichita Grand Opera to direct this new production of The Barber of Seville. His recent notable engagements include his Paris debut in 2012 directing L’Homme de La Mancha at the Theatre des Varietes, his 2011 Carnegie Hall debut working on Katy Tucker’s video production of Carmina Burana, another 2011 debut with Opera Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa, directing a new production of Carmen that was hailed as “stupendous” by the local press, and his Lincoln Center debut in 2008 for the Juilliard Opera Center with Maestro James Conlon conducting. Other career highlights include groundbreaking new productions of The Pearl Fishers for Opera Boston; La Voix Humaine at Florence Gould Hall in New York City and for the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, Belgium; and Tosca at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. He was named Classical Singer Magazine’s “2008 – Stage Director of the Year.” Since his professional directing debut in 1996, Mr. Marvel has directed over 100 productions in the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, South Korea, and the Czech Republic. He previously directed WGO’s productions of Carmen(2010) and The Barber of Seville (2009).



Ken Hakoda

Ken Hakoda

Japanese conductor Ken Hakoda returns to Wichita Grand Opera this season conducting The Barber of Seville. Maestro Hakoda is in his tenth season as the Music Director of the Salina Symphony. During his tenure as Music Director, the Symphony has enjoyed tremendous growth. A native of Japan, Maestro Hakoda has lived in the United States since 1989. Hakoda is also known for his work as a composer with over 20 works to his credit.



Composer Bio


Gioachino Antonio Rossini

Gioachino Antonio Rossini was born into a family of musicians in Pesaro, Italy. His father, Giuseppe, was a horn player, and his mother, Anna, was a singer and a baker’s daughter. Rossini’s parents began his musical training early, and by the age of six he was playing the triangle in his father’s musical group.


His first opera was produced at Venice when he was just 18 years old. Between 1810 and 1813 at Bologna, Rome, Venice and Milan, Rossini produced operas of varying success, Finally, in 1813, Tancredi and L’italiana in Algeri were great successes, and catapulted the 20-year-old composer to international fame. The public appreciated his gift for melody, some of which became so popular that the Italians would sing them in crowds at the law courts until called upon by judges to desist.


By the age of 21, Rossini had established himself as the idol of the Italian opera public. He continued to write operas for Venice and Milan during the next few years, but their reception was tame after the success of Tancredi. In 1815 he was hired as musical director of the Teatro di San Carlo and the Teatro del Fondo at Naples. Some older composers in Naples were inclined to intrigue against the success of the youthful composer, but all hostility was rendered futile by the enthusiasm that greeted the court performance of his Elisabetta, regina d’Inghilterra, in which Isabella Colbran, who subsequently became the composer’s wife, took a leading part.


Rossini’s most famous opera, The Barber of Seville, was produced on February 20, 1816, at the Teatro Argentina in Rome. Much is made of how quickly Rossini’s opera was written, scholarship generally agreeing upon two or three weeks. Later in life, Rossini claimed to have written the opera in only twelve days. It was a colossal failure when it premiered; however, not long after the second performance, the opera became wildly successful.


In 1822, Rossini married the renowned opera singer Isabella Colbran. In the same year, he moved from Italy to Vienna, where his operas were the rage of the audiences. While there, Rossini met Ludwig van Beethoven, who was then aged 51, deaf, cantankerous and in failing health. Communicating in writing, Beethoven noted: “Ah, Rossini. So you’re the composer ofThe Barber of Seville. I congratulate you. It will be played as long as Italian opera exists.”.


The next year, at the suggestion of the manager of the King’s Theatre, London, Rossini came to England. There he was given a generous welcome, which included an introduction to King George IV and the receipt of £7000 (nearly $800,000 today) after a residence of five months. From there, he was promptly hired to be musical director of the Théâtre des Italiens in Paris at a salary of £800 (over $85,000 today) per year. Rossini’s popularity in Paris was so great that Charles X gave him a contract to write five new operas a year, and at the expiration of the contract he was to receive a generous pension for life.


During his Paris years, between 1824 and 1829, Rossini created the comic opera Le comte Ory and his masterpiece William Tell. The production of the latter in 1829 brought his career as a writer of opera to a close. He was thirty-eight years old and had already composed thirty-eight operas. William Tell was a political epic adapted from Schiller’s play Wilhelm Tell (1804) about the 13th-century Swiss patriot who rallied his country against the Austrians. William Tell’s music is remarkable, and marks a transitional stage in the history of opera, the overture serving as a model for romantic overtures throughout the 19th century. The overture is one of the most famous and frequently recorded works in the classical repertoire.


Following William Tell’s premiere Rossini returned to Italy, but finally settled in Paris in 1855, where he lived until his death in 1868. Rossini had been a well-known gourmand and an excellent amateur chef his entire life, but he indulged these two passions fully once he retired from composing, and today there are a number of dishes with the appendage “alla Rossini” to their names that were either created by or specifically for him. Probably the most famous of these is Tournedos Rossini, still served by many restaurants today.