This was a very smart move from the Barbican. As one of the last 20th century mainstream operas it had been premiered though all America and Europe but the UK premiere was still waiting. So the Barbican took the Teatro Real production that has been staging this month in Madrid: singers, conductor, director, stage design, costumes… everything but the orchestra, choir and sets and brought it to London. That meant minimal rehearsal times and minimal cost resulting in an almost fully-stage opera at very low price.
What a great Rossini we had at the Royal Opera House! Event if a priori it had all the ingredients for a good opera night (infrequent wonderful score, superb cast, brand new production, good conductor…) you still need to get this magic of the opera working. David Alden production is colorful and visually appealing. The action flows perfectly though it although it lacks a little bit of coherence (mixing North Korean with Soviet and western icons) and a main idea gluing everything together.