Benjamin Brecher directs UCSB Opera Theatre's production of The Barber of Seville.

Benjamin Brecher directs UCSB Opera Theatre’s production of The Barber of Seville.

The UCSB Opera Theatre presents its new production of Gioachino Rossini’s The Barber of Seville this weekend.

Directed by Benjamin Brecher with musical direction by Christopher Rountree, lighting by Paul Sahuc and costumes by Skip Stecker, the opera stars Helena von Rueden (Rosina), Mary Rose Go (Rosina), Bryan Lane (Count), Keith Colclough (Don Basilio) and Mark Covey (Figaro).

The Barber will be performed again at 3 p.m. Sunday in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall (Music Building).

The Barber of Seville has a fantastically exciting Overture, an immortal hymn of self-importance (Figaro’s “Largo al factotum”), and a terrifyingly nimble coloratura aria (Rosina’s “Una voce poco fa”) — the butchering of the latter by the Susan Alexander character in Citizen Kane making for one of the most harrowing scenes in American cinema.

But these highlights, impressive as they are, don’t explain the opera’s continued — and continuous — popularity. Rossini was, above all, an entertainer, and while he could write a solo aria with the best of them, he was a specialist in creating the musical equivalent of the social chaos of commedia dell’ art. The ensembles are what make this opera a perpetual hit, and Rossini’s special genius is for writing these social storms with a kind of abtract precision — while following, at the same time, the trail of one beautiful melody after another. The Barber, whatever else it is, is never boring.

Tickets to The Barber of Seville are $15 for general admission and $7 for students. They can be purchased at the door or online by clicking here.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at gerald.carpenter@gmail.com. The opinions expressed are his own.