L’Italiana in Algeri

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Last night’s seasonal premiere at the Met of Rossini’s “L’Italiana in Algeri” was great fun. It was opera buffa created by the master of the genre, even though the master himself was a mere 21 when he composed the opera (and did it in just four weeks!). The seven principal performers were all quite good, but Russian bass-baritone Ildar Abdrazakov stole the show. Aside from his formidable vocal talents, he is an astonishingly gifted comic actor, a great talent to have when performing Rossini.

A highlight of the evening was the Act I closing curtain number, a rollicking septet in which the performers offered up their truly funny version of madness. This crowd-pleaser evoked the Act I curtain number in “Il Barbiere di Siviglia,” one sung by “only” a sextet.

Two bits of good news. “L’Italiana” plays six more times between Oct. 7 and Oct. 24. And no soprano dies at the end.

Ben Rosen

Here is Ildar Abdrazakov singing from the Barber of Seville:

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