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The Barber of Seville Photos
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Italian tenor Tito Schipa, one of San Francisco Opera’s most popular early stars and its first Count Almaviva in 1924, returned to the role in 1935 opposite the Rosina of California native Josephine Tumminia. Photo: Lawrence B. Morton
The 1941 cast featured several San Francisco Opera stalwarts, including matinee idol baritone Lawrence Tibbett as Figaro, Brazilian soprano Bidú Sayão as Rosina, and Italian basso Salvatore Baccaloni as Dr. Bartolo. Photo: Lawrence B. Morton.
Company founder and conductor Gaetano Merola, who led the 1941 performances, taking a bow with Ezio Pinza (Basilio) and Bidú Sayão (Rosina). Photo: Unknown.
Following the sudden death of Gaetano Merola during the late summer of 1953, Italian maestro Tulio Serafin stepped in to lead a distinguished Barber cast including Frank Guarrera (Figaro), Giulietta Simionato (Rosina), Salvatore Baccaloni (Bartolo), Cesare Valletti (Count), Nicola Rossi-Lemeni (Basilio), and Janice Moudry (Berta). Photo: Paul Tracy.
French soprano Lily Pons sang Rosina with San Francisco Opera in 1939 and reprised the role in 1950 with the Figaro of Enzo Mascherini. During the Act II lesson scene, Pons interpolated two songs: “Lo, hear the gentle lark” and “Villanelle.” Photo: Strohmeyer Photography
In 1958, Italian baritone Rolando Panerai made his American debut with San Francisco Opera as “a large-voiced and exceptionally lively Figaro who raced to and fro like a kitten intrigued by everything about him,” as one critic put it. Photo: Bill Cogan
After making her Company debut as Rosina in 1963, soprano Reri Grist returned to the role in 1965 opposite the Figaro of Richard Fredricks. Photo: Pete Peters
To honor the 100th anniversary of Rossini’s death, San Francisco Opera presented renowned Spanish mezzo-soprano Teresa Berganza as Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia in 1968. Photo: Robert Cahen
After winning San Francisco Opera’s 1968 Auditions, Shigemi Matsumoto performed many roles with the Company under general director Kurt Herbert Adler’s aegis, including Rosina in the 1972 Spring Opera season. Photo: Carolyn Mason Jones.
“His craft is tops in the Italian tradition” proclaimed the San Francisco Chronicle of Italian baritone Renato Capecchi’s Dr. Bartolo in the 1976 performances, pictured with John Brecknock’s Count. Photo: Greg Peterson
Mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade portrayed Rosina in 1976 (pictured here in the lesson scene with John Brecknock as the twice-disguised Count) and returned to the role in 1992. Photo: Greg Peterson
Il Barbiere di Siviglia opened the 1987 season with a brilliant cast, including Nicolai Ghiarov as Basilio, the expert Renato Capecchi returning as Bartolo, Leo Nucci as Figaro, Patrick Power as the Count, Susan Neves as Berta, and Susanne Mentzer as Rosina, all pictured here in the Act I finale. Photo: Ron Scherl
Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky made his Company debut as Figaro in 1996 alongside the Count of American tenor Bruce Ford. Photo: Marty Sohl
Catherine Cook has performed the role of Berta in five different productions of The Barber of Seville with San Francisco Opera beginning in 1996 opposite the Rosinas of Mika Shigamatsu and Jennifer Larmore (pictured). Photo: Marty Sohl
The 2003 production by German director Johnannes Schaaf featured two different casts, including the ensemble of Kevin Glavin as Bartolo, Joyce DiDonato as Rosina, Matthew Polenzani as the Count, and Thomas Hampson as Figaro. Photo: Larry Merkle
Emilio Sagi’s 2013 new production showcased two sterling casts, including one with tenor Alek Shrader and mezzo-soprano Daniela Mack as the Count and Rosina (pictured here in the lesson scene). Photo: Cory Weaver
Mexican tenor Javier Camarena, who portrayed the Count in the other 2013 cast, accompanied himself on guitar during the Act I serenade. Photo: Cory Weaver
The Act I finale from 2015 with Rene Barbera as the Count, Daniela Mack as Rosina, Andrea Silvestrelli as Basilio, Lucas Meachem as Figaro, Catherine Cook as Berta, and Alessandro Corbelli as Dr. Bartolo. Photo: Cory Weaver