Opera for All Ages
The Barber of Seville, by Giochino Rossini, is arguably one of the greatest opera buffas (i.e. comedic operas) of all time. While a number of the operas we have discussed in class have had elements of opera buffa in them, we haven’t fully submerged ourselves in this comedic world. Additionally, I believe that in the coming ages, in order to keep the appreciation of opera alive, we need to have it appeal to the younger age groups. These comedic operas appeal to these groups because of their fun music and overall silliness, among other elements. The Barber of Seville is just one example of a comedic opera that has lasted through the ages and managed to please both children and adults.
To quickly summarize the plot, a Spanish count falls in love with a girl called Rosina. To confirm her love, the Count disguises himself as a poor college student (named “Lindor”) and attempts to woo her. Unfortunately, the Count’s plans are foiled by Rosina’s guardian Doctor Bartholo, who wants to marry her himself. Luckily, however, the Count meets his ex-servant, Figaro (yes, the Figaro we have learned about), who is currently working as a barber and thus, can go into Doctor Bartholo’s home. Subsequently, the Count pays Figaro to find a way for him to meet with Rosina so the two can talk. There are many funny ways the Count tries to talk with her (with the help of Figaro), including a drunken soldier act. The story, as expected, ends happily with the marriage of the Count and Rosina.
While the plot-line may seem unoriginal (based off a French play by Beaumarchais), one of the reasons this opera has stayed so famous so long is because of its music and comic nature. Not only does Rossini create music filled with lightness and joy, but his tunes have become popularized in everyday cartoons for people of all ages (especially children) to watch. Here is a reenactment of a part of his opera in “Bugs Bunny”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWRZut6klgE
And here is a funny clip of this opera from another cartoon called “Woody Woodpecker”:
By watching these videos, we can clearly see that opera can appeal to all audiences. It should not be exclusively for adults, and as seen here, can be expanded to all age groups successfully. Hopefully opera will continue to be integrated into these kinds of shows in order to continue the famous tradition that opera has established around the world.