"The most important reason for not doing the aria is because it is fiendishly difficult, and only those tenors who can sing it easily should do it," says Speight Jenkins. "We are very fortunate in Seattle to have one of those tenors, Lawrence Brownlee. When a tenor enjoys singing it, it simply must be done."
Last year, Brownlee performed the role -- and the aria -- with Washington National Opera, prompting Washington Post columnist Anne Midgette to post an Almaviva taste test on her blog. She compared videos of Francisco Araiza, Rockwell Blake, Juan Diego Flórez, and Brownlee singing "Cessa di più resistere," and asked readers which they preferred. We'll do the same here. Check out these videos below:
Juan Diego Flórez
Based on these videos, who do you think does the best job? Midgette said she'd reserve much of her judgment until after witnessing Brownlee live -- and a few days later she reviewed WNO's production of Barber and praised his performance. "He can do the showy fireworks that the role requires with aplomb, as he displayed in the tour de force eight-minute final aria, 'Cessa di più resistere,' which was every bit the show-stopper it needs to be."
Needless to say, we're all looking forward to hearing Brownlee tackle the aria here in Seattle. How about you? Have you ever heard it performed live before?