A Fresh Take on The Barber of Seville with Apprentice Alumni Emily Fons and Jack Swanson


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There’s a reason why The Barber of Seville remains one of the most popular operas in the world. Gioachino Rossini’s comedic masterpiece never fails to delight audiences with its lively music, whirlwind romance, and inevitable happy ending.

Host Jane Trembley speaks with mezzo-soprano Emily Fons and tenor Jack Swanson about their approach to providing a fresh take on one of opera’s most familiar tales. The pair also give advice to anyone encountering The Barber of Seville for the first time and share wisdom from their time in the Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program for Singers. Plus, Jane learns all about playing Cards Against Humanity with like-minded company, traveling opera pets, and helping Kelsey Grammar out of a jam.

“The one thing I like to say about The Barber of Seville is that it's one of those operas where they really got the story right,” Jack says. “It's so easy to follow no matter what time period, no matter what costumes they're wearing, no matter what props they're using.” Who better to evaluate Rossini’s genius than a performer who’s played Count Almaviva in guises ranging from a 19th-century nobleman to a modern-day rockstar?

Emily, too, has appeared in multiple productions of this classic comedy. Her understanding of Rosina, the sparkling, rebellious recipient of Almaviva’s affections, and the opera’s themes have evolved along the way. “That's been my journey over time,” she explains, “from being bogged down in what I thought people's expectations were to finding how I wanted to tell this story.”

As for returning to SFO, both Emily and Jack agree that no other organization is as supportive of apprentices and pros alike. “Thank you,” Emily says, “to the Santa Fe Opera and all those really special people.”


Hosted by Jane Trembley


Emily Fons - Mezzo-Soprano




Jack Swanson - Tenor





Destination Santa Fe Opera is a Santa Fe Opera podcast, produced and edited by Andrea Klunder at The Creative Impostor Studios.

Post-Production Audio: Edwin R. Ruiz

Hosted by: Jane Trembley

Show Notes by: Lisa Widder


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