SIR Thomas Allen’s second revival of the Scottish Opera show that was the star baritone’s UK professional debut as a director is a crowd-pleaser, in all the best senses of that expression.

The Barber of Seville had a tricky opening night in Rome in 1816, but a tune-packed crowd-pleaser is exactly what Rossini composed it to be, and this staging is a triumph in all its musical and theatrical detail - a superb introduction to opera for the uninitiated as well as a delight for those who love the artform.

The most controversial change this time around is the use of Amanda Holden’s English translation of Cesare Sterbini’s libretto, but even purists would have to concede that it is a key ingredient to this version’s success. Well-used rehearsal time has clearly gone into ensuring that every witty line and bold rhyme is delivered for maximum comic effect, phrased and timed to perfection.

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That goes for the physicality of the performances as well, from the choreographed swagger of Samuel Dale Johnson’s Figaro to the stumbles of David Stout’s deluded Doctor Bartolo and the movement of the excellent chorus. The casting is superb across the board. Barber Figaro’s nemesis Don Basilio is the amoral obverse of the same coin in John Molloy’s performance, and his aria on the dark act of reputation-trashing a horribly-modern highlight. Anthony Gregory’s Count Almaviva is nuanced and characterfully sung, in all the character’s guises, and Ross Cumming and Inna Husieva from the company’s current group of Emerging Artists both impress.

As in the previous stagings of this production, however, it is Rosina, the young woman who is the centre of attention, who steals the show. The only Scottish Opera debutante in the cast, Simone McIntosh is sensational. The Swiss-Canadian mezzo has the acting skills to match her superb voice, secure in pitch from its rich lower reaches to the soaring top notes.

There is much that is pantomimic, even farcical, about the production, from the populating of Simon Higlett’s clever set during the famous overture onwards, but every detail works as meticulously as conductor Stuart Stratford treats the score. Musically, this is precision Rossini with the orchestra placed in unusual but effective configuration in the pit. The continuo accompaniment of the recitatives is always part of the storytelling and the ensemble playing is as accomplished as that of the singers’ ensemble on stage.

A top price seat for Scottish Opera is now closing in on £100, but tickets can be had for less than a quarter of that and this Barber, which has two more Glasgow performances before touring to Edinburgh, Inverness and Aberdeen, is worth every penny.

The Barber of Seville, Theatre Royal, Glasgow