The Barber of Seville

Seattle Opera offers two Count Almavivas in its two casts performing Rossini's classic. Lawrence Brownlee sings his coloratura with a sort of high-wire tension—very effective in moments of passion or drama, but not such a good fit when the scene calls for ease or romantic suavity, as in the Count's daybreak serenade that opens the opera. In the same role, Nicholas Phan is more winningly boyish; he offers high notes that are lovely and focused in isolation, but noticeably less steady when they pop up in any complicated passagework. The production's double cast presents two terrific Rosinas, soprano Sarah Coburn and mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey. The role has always been sung by either vocal range, with minor adjustments made to the music to take advantage of the former's top notes or the latter's low ones. These were equally thrilling: Coburn's like bursts of blue flame, Lindsey's smoky and seductive. The very first time I heard Lindsey dip below the staff, I knew the game was up. This is a woman who'll get anything she sets her mind to, with or without any help from Figaro. GAVIN BORCHERT

Sat., Jan. 15, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 16, 2 p.m.; Wed., Jan. 19, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., Jan. 21, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 22, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 23, 2 p.m.; Wed., Jan. 26, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., Jan. 28, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 29, 7:30 p.m., 2011

 
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