Shave and an Aria,  Two Bits

Did you know that the role of Rosina in Gioachino Rossini’s The Barber of Seville was originally written for contralto, but a general shortage of contraltos — who apparently are the operatic equivalent of rhythm and blues’ Big Mama Thornton — means the role is mostly performed by mezzo sopranos? Or that it became a monster international hit despite an opening-night disaster ginned up by the composer of a competing operatic version of the story, which is from a play by Pierre Beaumarchais? Or that it was one of the first operas to be performed in Italian in America? These are some of the many interesting possible “facts” I gleaned from the Internet to tell you about the Dallas Opera’s upcoming staging of the beloved comic opera without once mentioning “The Rabbit of Seville” and looking like a bumpkin — which, umm, I just did. Dang. Mezzo soprano Isabel Leonard has her Dallas Opera debut as Rosina, joining Nathan Gunn (Figaro) and Alek Shrader (Count Almaviva) in this story of thwarted lovers, implausible disguises and comic misdirection. The curtain rises at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. Additional performances are Sunday and April 2, 5, 11 and 13. Tickets range from $29 to $219 and are available at
Fri., March 28, 8 p.m., 2014