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Rosa Keller Library (5:00-9:00 PM)
My House NOLA presents a rolling food vendor mini festival
Maple Leaf (8:00PM)
Feel the Mardi Gras Indian beat with Big Chief Monk Boudreaux
Rebirth Brass Band
Crescent City Farmers Market
Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns
The Antenna Gallery (7:00 PM)
A series of music-themed movies and documentaries, curated and hosted by DJ Soul Sister, and co-presented by Charitable Film Network, Press Street, and WWOZ
Jewish Community Center (7:30 PM)
The second evening of a chamber music festival that has something for classical aficionados and dilettantes alike
Circle Bar (10:00 PM)
Catch the Indie rockers on their North American tour
Bribes and Brides: The Barber of Seville, Debunked
The opera is filled with the trappings of antiquated costumes, complicated lists of names and of course those loud voices. But underneath it all, there are often simple stories that wouldn’t be out of place at the movies, or New Orleans politics. In the case of the production that the New Orleans Opera Association is putting on this weekend, there's even a good bit of comedy potential. Since it helps to know the plot of an opera before heading out to the theatre, allow us to take a moment to shave down Rossini's famed Barber of Seville, lest there be any confusion that it's all just one big trip to Aidan Gill.
The story is something of a cross between Say Anything and How to Marry a Millionaire, only in reverse. As the curtain goes up, the pauper Lindoro and a band of young men are outside the window of the beautiful Rosina. They must remain outside the window because the aging Dr. Bartolo keeps close watch on Rosina, and plans to marry her - and her dowry, too! - once she is old enough.
The audience soon learns that Lindoro is really the Count Almaviva in disguise. Figaro approaches, singing. He is not singing Figaro, but rather about factotums. The Count wants to marry Rosina himself, but not for her money. Still, he is a rich man, so money is not an obstacle. He wants to bribe Figaro, but before the payoff can change hands, Figaro has further advice. In modern terms, he would be more of an avid viewer of Project Runway than The Bachelor. This Lindoro disguise just isn’t working, he says. He must disguise himself as a drunken soldier, and invite himself into Dr. Bartolo’s house. In those days, a man could scarcely refuse an inebriated officer, nor could any good deed apparently go unrewarded. The Count is a big fan of this suggestion, and pays Figaro for the tip. No word on how Figaro spends the money, but he sticks around for the rest of the show so apparently he figures giving advice is good business.
The Count makes it into Dr. Bartolo’s house, and hears Rosina singing. Rosina then sees the Count - who she knows as Lindoro - and writes to him. Little does she know she is entering a Meg Ryan-like spiral of mistaken identity. Bartolo sees the Count, but he has his own advice giver. Basilio tells the Count to spread rumors about the Count, and get him out of the way. Then, they sing about it.
Seeing more payday, Figaro then asks Rosina to write to the Count, but she’s already done that, throwing his whole business model into question. A servant then sees the Count, who is still acting drunk. The servant rushes for Bartolo, but that gives the Count a minute alone with Rosina. He gives her a letter back, and admits that he is not a poor man, a soldier or even drunk. Instead, he is a Count. Bartolo is watching by this point, and he is worried about the Count. He demands to know what is in Rosina’s hands, but she gives him her laundry list to disguise the letter. The audience might be surprised to learn that people actually had laundry lists back then, but their minds are then eased by the fact that they don't have to listen to the whole thing recited.
Bartolo isn’t stupid, and he gets angry. Thinking the Count is a drunken soldier, he demands to have the Count arrested. But the Count whispers his name, and the officers back away. Rosina has the last laugh, as Bartolo and Basilio sit still, and in shock. Instead of laughing, Rosina sings about it.
Having already used the old drunken soldier routine, the Count begins Act 2 with an abrupt turn to the Singing Teacher routine. Whether he’s more Julie Andrews or Whoopi Goldberg is up to stylistic interpretation. Bartolo is again suspicious. But instead of getting angry, he gets a shave. At this point, Basilio walks in and shows himself to be out for money. The Count is able to bribe him to fake sickness, and suddenly Figaro is seriously threatened.
Bartolo is hip to all of it, however, and rushes to get marriage papers drawn up for he and Rosina. The Count and Figaro show they are willing to scale the heights for love, and climb a ladder. Figaro doesn't even require any money for the act. By this time Bartolo has attempted to convince Rosina that neither Lindoro, the drunken solider, the teacher or the Count are who they say they are. Instead of The Count, Lindoro is some hanger-on, Bartolo says. But instead of descending from romcom into Face-Off territory, the Count is able to convince Rosina that he is who he says he is. As it turns out, Bartolo is no Nicolas Cage.
The ladder they were going to use to escape is gone, so Basilio then gets a choice: he can take a bribe or a bullet. He chooses the bribe and witnesses as Rosina and the Count sign the marriage papers. Bartolo finally gets back into the room and gets mad. But even he is able to be paid off, as the Count tells him to keep Rosina’s dowry. A bride is better than a bunch of bribes, the Count figures. And they all sing.
Dead Huey Long, Emma Boyce, Ian Hoch, Sarah Esenwein, Ryan Sparks, Will Dilella, Chris Rinaldi, Lianna Patch, Phil Yiannopoulos, Cate Czarnecki, Jonas Griffin, Jennifer Abbot, Mary Kilpatrick, Elaina Patton, Mike Horst, Devin Bambrick, Katherine McGuire, Norris Ortolano, Joe Shriner
Ryan Sparks, Kerem Ozkan
Michael Weber, B.A.
Assistant Managing Editor
B. E. Mintz
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