When, in the early nineteenth century, Gioachino Rossini reached for Beaumarchais’ Figaro plays with the help of librettist Cesare Sterbini, he was not discouraged by the fact that it had already been set to music by Paisiello and Mozart. He created a work that, even today, has plenty of healthy comedy and freshness, and shows the genius and mastery of its author. Full of bright musical humour, the opera experienced exactly what Ludwig van Beethoven predicted: ‘As long as Italian opera exists, this work will be performed!’ Although the premiere in Rome in 1816 was, due to a series of absurd accidents, a fiasco, the work speedily gained world-wide success after its second performance in Bologna, and it has become one of the most popular operas of all time. As a musical author with a very liberal understanding of tradition, Rossini introduced a new kind of musical expression into the conventional Italian opera, and, with scenic realism, marked a new era in the history of opera. It never ceases to attract seasoned opera lovers with the magic of musical and scenic splendour, and it uses humour and a hearty philosophy of life to challenge the prejudice that the art of opera is incomprehensible, bringing even the youngest audience to the theatre.
— Excellent direction combined with excellent vocal performances. —
Jutarnji list, May 2006.
— This was an example of a performance in which singing and playing were not the dominant and only means of artistic expression, demonstrating that opera really is a musical theatre. —
Slobodna Dalmacija, May 2006.