Romance, amusement and amazing talent

Upcoming Western Plains Opera show brings it all

Shyanne Belzer/MDN MAIN: “Barber of Seville,” performed by members of Western Plains Opera Company and guests, is made up of 10 characters and a chorus of 14 singers. Together they tell the comedic romance story of Rosina and Count Almaviva.

Bringing in not only local talent but also talent from around the country, the Western Plains Opera Company’s upcoming show is expected to wow viewers with their sound, lighting, effects, costumes and more. A love story mixed with comedy at every turn. The upcoming show has a fun story to tell.

The “Barber of Seville,” directed by Cindy Oxberry and conducted by Efrain Amaya, will be performed on the Ann Nicole Nelson stage on Friday at 7 p.m. and then again Sunday at 3 p.m.

“Barber of Seville” follows the comedic adventures of Figaro, barber and knower of all the town’s secrets, Bartolo, who is the guardian of the main fair maiden, Count Almaviva, who is in love with the fair maiden, and the young beauty herself, Rosina. The two-act play, filled with music and charm, follows Count Almaviva’s adventure to win Rosina’s hand in marriage.

“It is a romantic comedy with the young beauty being stolen by the noble lord and his clever helper, Figaro, from the old man who keeps her virtually imprisoned,” said Eric Furuseth, a bass singer for the chorus.

As has become expected with the Western Plains Opera Company’s performances, an ensemble of talent from local performers to those brought in to perform are involved. Guest performers include director Cindy Oxberry and actors Chris Holmes, Philip Zawisza and Carlos Feliciano. Returning for another show is Gabrielle Razafinjatovo.

With their hired lighting designer and the orchestral music talent of the Minot Symphony Orchestra, Furuseth believes it will be a great show.

“The show itself is a comedy and our director has added many comic details to add to the hilarity. Our guests are outstanding, both as singers and performers. The music is glorious and rousing,” he said. “It is performed with a full orchestra and chorus so that there are many thrilling musical moments.”

All guests have quite the dosier of experience. Philip Zawisza, who will be playing Figaro, is a professor of voice at the University of Minnesota. He has played the role many times and has had distinguished careers in both the United States and Europe.

Chris Holmes will be taking the role of Bartolo. Critics describe his baritone voice as powerful and melodious, full of soul and passion. He has performed with a variety of opera companies such as Austin Lyric Opera, Central City Opera, Eugene Opera, Phoenix Opera.

Starring as the scheming lover Count Almaviva is Carlos Feliciano. He has performed in many prestigious opera houses and recital halls in America, including Lyric Opera of Chicago and San Diego Opera. His tenor brings a beautiful addition to the “Barber of Seville” performers.

Gabrielle Razafinjatovo is performing as Rosina, the young maiden at the center of the romantic comedy. Razafinjatovo is from Hampden and is a 2017 MSU graduate. She has established herself as a musical performer in the area through solos in the annual Messiah performance and performing in many roles in previous Western Plain’s Opera Company shows.

Cindy Oxberry was brought all the way from the Washington, D.C., National Opera Company to direct the show. Described as tough and funny, she has worked with many of the biggest names in opera over her years, working with many opera company’s throughout the country.

Also involved in the production is DeVera Bowles from the university’s Music Division for costumes, Efrain Amaya as conductor, and community members, students, and more.

“Overall, this is a highly enjoyable production that is a must-see in Minot,” said Furuseth.

The show will be run Friday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at the Western Plains Opera Company’s site, by calling 858-3191, or at the door. They cost $10 to $30.

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