What a glorious production this is, small cast, chamber orchestra, intimate and simple setting, lively, funny, clever and really, really entertaining.
Firstly then, a big hand to Richard Studer for his clever translation. Sung in English this is an easy to follow libretto, stripped down a bit, clear and easily followed. The production positively wizzes along with each of the singers given a chance to develop and play with their characters. The final garden scene, which I have always felt could drag in a "full" production, has become a properly laugh-out-loud comedy with some fabulous references and lines. Great fun.
The cast sing, and act (which can be unusual in opera!) excellently with Rebecca Afonwy-Jones' rendition of Rosina being particularly delicious, great facial expressions that wouldn't work on the big stage but are a delight in this space. William Wallace's Count Almaviva is great fun, playing the comedy of his part to great effect whilst Philip Smith's Figaro portrays his role of general factotum brilliantly - even if this production places the lovers to the fore. Nicholas Folwell's Bartolo blusters his way around the stage and Julian Close's Basilio fawns over anyone who might give him advantage, or money ... nicely observed parts. Jana Holesworth has a lovely voice for her one aria as Berta whilst Mark Saberton manful fills any and all other parts! A great team - it wouldn't work if any of them failed to commit completely to the show - hard work all round but it pays off with a delighted audience.
The small orchestra were more than up for the challenge and gave a suprisingly rich and crisp sound. Still chuckling at some of the lines, and genuinely delighted to have had the chance to see the show - loved it!