Thursday, January 7, 2010

I Dream of Opera

I know you’re out there. I can hear you quietly humming “Largo al factotum” (aka “that Figaro Figaro Figaro” song). You pass the Ellie and wonder what it would be like to sit inside. You’ve even gone as far as to read a blog on opera.

I see you, closet opera fans. You’re out there. And I’m going to lure you out. Love. Laughter. Moustaches. We’ve got it. You want it. And in February, you’ll get your wish.

But let’s back up: it’s time for a little history lesson! Rossini created a bit of a stir when he announced his new opera, as there was already a popular Barber making the rounds (this one composed by Giovanni Paisiello). Rossini went on to compose Barber in a little under three weeks. Easy enough to do, since the overture had been written for his earlier opera Aureliano in Palmira. (It’s not plagiarism if it’s your own work, right?)

The premiere was a disaster (a running theme with popular operas). There was hissing and jeering from fans of Paisiello and numerous mishaps and accidents. When Almaviva made his entrance to serenade Rosina, the strings on his guitar broke. Later in the opera, the singer portraying Basilio tripped and broke his nose. A stray cat even found its way onstage and refused to leave, eventually hiding in Rosina’s skirts!

Despite all this, the second performance was a success and the opera’s gone on to be incredibly popular. Even those unfamiliar with the story can typically recognize the music, which has been heard and parodied in Warner Brother's cartoons, The Simpsons, Mrs. Doubtfire, the Beatles' movie Help!, Seinfeld, Our Gang and about a trillion other sources.

Now that I’ve piqued your interest, you can learn more about the opera on our website – including fun facts and details on the cast. (Click here.)

The Barber of Seville opens February 6. Memorize it. Write it on your calendar. Tattoo it on your forehead. And I will see you there.

See you on Tuesday!


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