Anne-Marie MacIntosh is an emerging artist with the opera, playing the role of Berta in The Barber of Seville and Calgary Opera has put a spin on her role. “She is typically played by an older singer and she is supposed to be an older character, but since I’m [younger], our director Alain Gauthier turned me into a cigar smoking, scotch loving lazy maid,” MacIntosh explains. Gauthier adapted the character so that the production “allows for more humour. It adds to the comedy.”
The Barber of Seville is “one of the best operas for anyone who hasn’t been to the opera,” MacIntosh says. “There is already humour in the music. The cast has a lot of experience with comic roles, some of them have done these roles a million times.” It means that the artists know what makes the audience laugh. The opera will also be familiar to most. “The libretto has been used in Looney Tunes, in Bugs Bunny,” MacIntosh says. “There are some good tunes in it.”
MacIntosh is the second woman on stage other than the lead in the opera, as it is a male dominated opera, but she thinks that the opera is empowering to women despite the time it was written. The main character Rosina is “extremely strong and the smartest person on stage. She is always two steps ahead of [the men]. Her strength and her wit are exciting and special.”
If you’re new to opera, this might be just the way in.
The Barber of Seville plays November 18, November 22 and November 24 at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium. Tickets are available online.