About Me

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Split personality. Liking the arts, especially opera, and hockey and Los Toros. I know, I know THAT one is non pc currently. But I can't help it saw some in Spain and got hooked, but good. But on the other hand right now opera and hockey are in the forefront!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Make Love Not War

.. is just one of the ideas springing from fertile imaginations of the design team of the
NEW Barber of Sevilla, opera by Gioacchino Rossini, at HGO.
There are a few, actually a lot, of these.
So many that, overheard, in the words of some opera goers "What, I did not get that"!

This production calls for more talk about it -
BECAUSE it Iimpish, so impudently tongue-in-cheek, and oh, so bussssssyyyy!
The brainchild (nay, brainchildren) of this production team from Catalunia
(Joan Font, Joan Guillen, Albert Faura, Xevi Dorca)!

There is 'Flower Power'- 70's style- Roses for guns!
There are Mimes - lots.
It's Off kilter.
It's Slapstick.
A circus ? with acrobats.
There are 'Keystone Kops'.
There is that mood of the Silents, albeit in color.
And all exaggerated this and exaggerated that.

As amateurs' cameras in the HGO audience are strictly forbidden,
one must rely solely on words to paint a picture.
And that, IMO, is right on with the overall feeling one takes home from this night at the Opera!
All the bussssyyyy-ness seems like a Seurat painting.. dots upon tiny dots when looking closely.
Take a step, no many steps, back to 'get' the whole

There's  a hint of Picasso in it (his lop sided paintings which still are recognisable as faces, people...).
And there are those guitars.....in bright colors!

Joan Miro
The main stage prop, an exaggerated RED (Miro-esque) kinda universal piece-piano/desk/gondola, table, stage on a stage, tiered wedding cake.....just let your imagination soar...I may have missed a few other meanings.

There is also a huge window with a 'Tree grows in Sevilla' feel to it - love growing apace? or maybe I mistook that.  Maybe it's just meant to be a rather pretty prop!
Which sometimes becomes obscured by a black-out curtain, but other times is bathed in sunlight, lightening, and often windblown.
Polished leaves (?) by mime servants rustle silverily. One can almost hear that rustle of said leaves!

And a huge chandelier - place for mime acrobatics - not quite sure what THAT signifies...
the ups and downs, dangerous vagaries of love?

And what about the newspapers at the end? Or are those wedding announcements - LOL?
Was it the idea, that as the lovers keep singing - and singing - and singing,
the rest of the cast is keeping busy (there is that again, BUSY) reading the papers?
Or maybe not?  Well, go on, go see and let me know what YOU make of that!

There is a bounty of  Bumbling servants (mimes).
Figaros (mimes) in "multiplicate"- not duplicate, not triplicate - much more than that-thus 'multiplicate'-lol-
and other characters enlivening the scenery in a shadow box kinda way. As the perennial black-clad (head to toe) duenna (mime)!

Overall a piece of stagecraft to please the 'child' in all of us.
Overall effective.
but there is one 'busssyyy-ness'  I personally did not care for!
That aria of Don Basilio (Kyle Ketelson)  "La Calunnia".
This oh, so sly, insidious, ominous aria was simply overwhelmed by the mime action ON top of that red painted 'stage' :-) on the stage.  But maybe THAT (the inanity of it all) was the idea behind it?

Here is an, IMO, good 'normal' example sung by bass Robert Lloyd.
Now, to the singers.
Rosina, sung by soprano Ana Maria Martinez, was the girlish, impudent, rebellious teenager to the core. Her flexible voice managed the range from mezzo depths to coloratura heights quite easily.
She was equally at home in the piano as the forte parts.
Delightful to look at and hear!
Here she is in her the block buster appearance as Cio Cio San.

Lawrence Brownlee (Tenor) as Count Almaviva, used his high ringing lyric tenor to dazzle not only Rosina :-), but the audience as well.
In this clip from a  Bellini opera, 
he nails a high F. 

Figaro, was sung by a (fully clad this time around - lol) baritone Nathan Gunn with comic bravado.

Amazingly, enough, Patrick Carfizzio's Dr. Bartolo stole the show, vide the loudest applause!
No doubt due to his most amusing comic singing during the 'music lesson'.
Usually the Almaviva character gets to sing a distorted arietta (in exaggerated falsetto) to cause giggles, but in this production Dr. Bartolo  'runs away' with a huge guffaw producing insert of the Giannina (naturally he sings of Rosina) Arietta.

Here is Carfizzio as Figaro in HGO's Mozart's Marriage of Figaro.

Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Vordoni and the HGO chorus, well guided by Chorus master Bado, did honor to Rossini's lively musical comedy!

Which ever way you look at it.... 
this production IS very much a diversion from the daily depressing news from around the world.
And no one dies in this 'evening of fun at the opera'.

1 comment:

ICEVET said...

Although not an ardent opera "aficianado", your summary of the latest HGO production certainly makes this a performance not to miss!

The immortal Sun Tzu once opined that "it is easier for men to make war rather than peace". While love may be common to both, it is certainly a more permanent part of the human psyche in peace.