For his first opera production, Dario Fo, the controversial theatre director known for his brilliant wit and political satire, and winner of the 1997 Nobel prize for literature, chose to stage Rossini's II Barbiere di Siviglia for the Netherlands Opera. First mounted in 1987, it was a huge success and a live recording of its revival in may 1992, the 200th anniversary of Rossini's birth, has been made. Fo described Rossini as "the musician of eating and love". His Barbiere is a joyful carnival. During the overture he fills the stage with carnival revellers and immediately the commedia dell'arte origins of opera buffa are restored. Visual theatrics abound, never at the expense of the music, but highlighting it, engaging the eye as well as the ear. Rossini's comedy comes through strongly, dazzling and vital. Winner of the BBC singer of the world competition in Cardiff in 1985, David Malis has since gone on to sing on the world's most celebrated stages, including the Royal opera house at Covent Garden, La Scala in Milan, the Vienna Staatsoper, and the Netherlands Opera. His co-star Jennifer Larmore is considered to be one of the leading Rossini mezzos of today, and has appeared in her signature role of II Barbiere's Rosina to extraordinary acclaim in Paris, Amsterdam, Bonn, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Bilbao, Milan, Vienna and London.