Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Barber of Seville: Press, Blogger, Tweet Night

On October 23rd there was The Barber of Seville: Press, Blogger, Tweet Night, at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre (401 W Livingston St, Orlando, FL), which was the final dress rehearsal before the show opened. An usher informed me that there was no photography allowed, but I was ready with my sketchbook. I had to use the book light to see, but thankfully there was no one seated near me. The Orlando Philharmonic's semi staged operas usually have the orchestra on stage but for this production they have been moved to the music pit. Emily Lindahl, the Philharmonic)s PR person, said that the musicians are much happier down there. For her there is magic in seeing the musicians lit from below like a Degas painting. It feels more like an age old opera. Projections kept the simple set lively.

The Barber of Seville  by Rossini opened October 25. The 3-hour production left me plenty of time to sketch in the first act. Since I was busy sketching, I didn't have time to read the subtitles. In general the Opera seems to be about a lecherous barber Wooing a married woman. She instantly fell in love when he sang to her as she stood on her balcony. There were several funny scenes where her husband wandered outside and the barber hid by lying on his back like a rug, or pretending to be a bush. The old man must have pretty bad eye sight. No wonder his wife's attention wandered.

I only know the music because Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd performed in dueling barber chairs. One scene reminded me of the one aria sung by Citizen Kane's mousy girlfriend. The opera was actually based on the novel Salammb├┤ by Gustave Flaubert, which was a much more straightforward sword-and-sandals story of a princess, barbarians and that sort of thing. Susan Alexander Kane just didn't have the chops for the job. In the Orlando Philharmonic Barber of Seville production however the music was sublime. My mind just always wanders as I sketch.

Mark your Calendar! You only hare one more chance to see the Barber of Seville!  
The next performance is October 27, 2 p.m.
Venue: Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre
Address: 401 W. Livingston St.
Phone: (407) 770-0071
Price: $20-$82

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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