The 2001 Zurich production of "Il Barbiere di Siviglia" has many strengths, but the point of it is ultimately Vesselina Kasarova's vocal gymnastics as Rosina; when you cast a singer with so very steely a voice in the part you expect something special, and we are not disappointed. Her acting is perhaps a little arch - this is a very knowing Rosina, though no more so than such rivals in the part as Baltsa and Bartoli - but she gives a ferocious point and precision to every note and every word. This is a production with touches of luxury casting: Nicolai Ghiaurov is on hand to give Basilio's slander aria an apocalyptic aspect it rarely has; less known singers like Reinaldo Macias as Almaviva and Manuel Lanza as Figaro are entirely in the same league as far as vocal quality goes. Veteran conductor Nello Santi gives the performance real vigour; not a note of this comic standard sounds routine. The production, set in early 20th century Spain, makes imaginative use of a revolving stage and sets whose stylised fan motif give it a toy theatre feel.