It is good to welcome ETO, the country’s only opera company touring nationally, back to York after a six-year absence. Their entertaining new production of Rossini’s best-loved comedy is in the hands of Thomas Guthrie.

Happily, he takes a traditional view of the piece and the bright costumes proclaim the right era. There is nothing very Spanish about this Seville, unless you count shop signs announcing The Cobbler of Cordova and The Grocer of Granada.

Rhys Jarman’s set fronts a cityscape backdrop with sliding panels and a balcony window, but rather gives the game away by dangling a nursery-style man-in-the-moon at night. We are clearly in the land of farce.

For most of Act One, this works. The rag-tag on-stage band tunes up painfully, and war casualties beat hasty retreats when threatened with amputation or worse during Dr Bartolo’s aria. But when half the soldiers appear in drag we are going over the top.

The chorus business becomes a growing distraction as the evening progresses.

Grant Doyle’s Figaro plays to the crowd and his arias are firm enough, but he rarely gives the sense of a cunning manipulator. Kitty Whately makes an enchanting ingénue as Rosina, cleverly mixing shyness and sparkle, and throwing out her coloratura as to the manner born. The voice will grow and she has a bright future.

Bravura is less obvious in Nicholas Sharratt’s Almaviva and his wig as count does him no favours. But he more than survives his taxing arias and is nimble about the stage. He and Whately combine well, clearly enjoying themselves.

What truly funny moments there are come from two old hands, Andrew Slater’s hopelessly disgruntled Bartolo and Alan Fairs’s double-dealing Basilio. Such figures are the backbone of British opera. Comic timing goes awry, however, in the music-room: Basilio’ s “illness” lacks teamwork.

Timothy Carey recovered from a patchy overture to keep his orchestra alert, though an electronic “harpsichord” was a poor substitute for the real thing. But let’s not wait another six years for ETO’s return.