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23-year-old Gioachino Rossini completed his masterpiece IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA incredibly quickly – legend has it in just 13 days – which Rossini attributed to ‘facility and lots of instinct’. The opera, characterized by youthful energy and bold wit, has all the ingredients for comic chaos: an imprisoned young woman, her lecherous guardian and a young noble suitor. Skilfully plotting behind the scenes is Figaro, an irrepressible and inventive character in whom many have seen a resemblance to the young Rossini himself. The score fizzes with musical brilliance, from Figaro’s famous entrance aria to the frenzy of the Act I finale. This recording sees Joyce DiDonato (Rosina) bring literal meaning to the old theatrical motto Break a leg! She did just that in an earlier show but was determined to finish her commitment and was re-staged into the production to allow for the additional challenges that come when a leading lady in a lively physical role must wheel around the other performers...