Opera Omaha opened its 2015-2016 season Wednesday night with a witty, whimsical production of Rossini’s “Barber of Seville,” one of opera’s best-known and most beloved productions. It’s almost 200 years old, but the romantic comedy remains as fresh, funny and farcical as it did in the 19th century, many thanks to Michael Shell’s quick-paced directing, razor’s edge sense of zany comedic timing and a somewhat befuddled butler.
The story revolves around Count Almaviva, who is determined to marry the lovely Rosina. Unfortunately, her guardian, the conniving Doctor Bartolo, has designs on her dowry and is determined to marry her himself. With the help of the cunning barber Figaro, Almaviva is able to thwart Bartolo’s matrimonial machinations. True love triumphs, albeit amid ridiculous disguises, clichéd misunderstandings and figurative close shaves.