Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Barber of Seville

Recently I was gifted a ticket to the Lyric Opera. I rearranged all my plans, dug out something nice to wear, and enjoyed the Barber of Seville more than I ever have - or ever thought I would.

I was surprised and diverted by the production (by John Conway), which juxtaposed the artwork of Magritte with the surrealistic layers of the opera. With each level of disguise and intrigue there lay another interesting aspect of the surrealist's art in the set (by John Conklin) and costume design. Rather than sticking to a traditional production or trying to spice it up with an unsuccessful modern-day setting like some so often do, this production was a huge success!
What I also loved about this particular performance was that the singers were given certain leeway as they would have been in Rossini's day which filled the performance with the sort of musical jokes that would have been typical when the opera was first written but that apply to the audience today!

My favorite scene was the overture opening the second act. Rather than have nothing occurring on stage while the orchestra played, an acting out of a rainy day was taking place. Of course, the backdrop was the famous painting of Magritte's with the men in the bowler hats.

Hidden in the costumes and the set (such as the inside of the umbrella containing the blue sky) were treasures of artwork and music. (That last sentence sounded stupid but I'm having a hard time writing about art.)

I look forward to my next opera opportunity. Goodnight.


Bone-a-fide said...

That sounds awesome. Wish I could've see it with you!

At Impulse Theater we play a game called "Opera" and a few weeks a go we had a professional opera singer come in and teach us some tricks and we watched and listened to a bunch of the most famous pieces. It was inspiring and now I'm all opera-geeked out, too.

Aubrey said...

Yippee! You have to nurture the opera geek in you! I recommend La Traviata - the 1994 Solti version on DVD. I have never seen it without crying.

Collagemama said...

Thanks for this post. I just saw the Dallas Opera's "Barber of Seville" with the Magritte set and costumes. I especially loved Figaro's barbershop with the giant comb leaning in the corner.