SINGER A CUT ABOVE
NOT only is tenor John Longmuir looking forward to making his WA Opera debut as a principal in City of Perth’s Opera in the Park The
Barber of Seville, he is also thrilled at the prospect of his family watching the performance.
Born in Scotland, Longmuir’s family moved to Perth when he was nine years old.
He trained at Australian Opera Studio and left Perth five years ago to pursue his operatic career. Now based in Sydney, Longmuir has sung the role of Count Almaviva twice with Opera Australia and will reprise the role for Opera in the Park at Supreme Court Gardens on Friday, March 6.
The free annual event is expected to attract an audience of about 20,000 people and will be sung in Italian with English subtitles.
“The role was my debut for Opera Australia back at the start of 2011, and then I did it again in 2012,” Longmuir said.
“It’s very highly set singing-wise with a lot of coloratura, so a lot of runs and vocal gymnastics.
“I get through to the end of a production like The Barber of Seville and I’m absolutely shattered and need to have a nap, but the fact I’ve got through it makes me feel good.”
The comic opera revolves around Longmuir’s Count Almaviva, who is determined to woo the beautiful Rosina without revealing his high status or wealth.
Young barber Figaro helps him on his mission and much hilarity ensues with Almaviva’s thinly veiled costumes and disguises.
“It is an opera where most people will recognise pretty much all of the tunes,” Longmuir said. “Whether it be from that really famous Looney Tunes cartoon with Bugs Bunny, adverts or movies.
“It’s a little bit of a complicated story but not too complicated that you won’t understand, and it’s a hilarious piece of theatre because it’s just so implausible to modern-day audiences.”
Longmuir said the biggest test on the evening would be singing outdoors.
“I have nothing to rely on acoustically,” he said. “So we’ll be singing it with amplification and no walls to bounce your sound off, but I love a challenge.
“It’s so tuneful and such a happy, vibrant moving piece.”
John Longmuir is more than familiar with the role of Count Almaviva.