Opera Review and discussion by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray
Larry Murray: For someone who claims not to like opera very much, you sure seemed to enjoy The Barber of Seville at Hubbard Hall, Gail. Maybe because it was one of the ultimate examples of Opera Buffa which meant it is about things the local Italians could identify with, in language that was drawn from the vernacular.
Gail M. Burns: My great-grandmother, Magdalena Gandolfo, must have been watching over me! But seriously, what’s not to like when handsome gentlemen, and a pair of pretty ladies, are singing and carvorting for my pleasure? The English supertitles kept me clued in to the plot, and the clowning is universal. Was Chico Marx in this one?
Larry: I love that the opera has a delightful story that borders at times on farce. While there are a lot of zany romantic moments, deceit and trickery to keep us involved in the story, it also has some pretty wonderful music. Written in 1816, Gioachino Rossini kept Il barbiere di Siviglia simple and purely comedic, from the settings, to the words and the length – two acts, which means it is shorter than many of the opera seria which can go on and on. The form lasted from about 1700 to 1850. Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro, 1786) has more drama and pathos while Donizetti’s Elixer of Love (L’Elisir d’Amore, 1832) is even more romantic. There are a lot of wonderful characters and arias in Barber of Seville, which did you fall in love with?