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.