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Bayou St. John (12:15 PM-9:15 PM)
A music fest on the water featuring Alexis and the Samuri, Remedy Krewe, Fleur de Tease, Hot 8 Brass Band, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and more
Central City (1 p.m)
Second lines! Won't bow down!
Mid-City (All day)
Church and a parade to celebrate the club's 104th year
House of Blues (9:00 PM)
The Comedy Central comedian is here for some standup!
Big Top (7 p.m.)
8-16 piece traveilling circus punk troupe. Need we say more? Is there anymore to say? with Sammy Kay and the East Los Three, Dead Legends
Art Klub, 513 Elysian Fields Ave (8:00 PM)
An interactive and sparkling performance presented by Nari Tomassetti
Shadowbox Theatre (8:00 PM)
Straightforward conversational drama explores one area's gentrification through 50 years
Joe Krown feat. Russell Batiste and Walter "Wolfman" Washington
Maple Leaf (10:30PM)
Weekly gig on Oak with Krown on the organ, Washington firing up the guitar strings, and Batiste on the drums.
Hot 8 Brass Band
Howlin’ Wolf Den (10:00PM)
Weekly gig from some of the city’s best in brass
Sunday Youth Music Workshop
All ages workshop with Johnny Vidacovich. Bring your instruments!
Cajun Fais Do Do
Bruce Daigrepont is playing the washboard and getting you to bed early
Krewe du Guza
Le Bon Temps Roule (10:00PM)
Sunday Funday weekly gig from the husband and wife duo
New Orleans Opera's 'Barber of Seville' a Cunning Crowd Pleaser: Review
Over the last decade, a spectre has haunted the high arts: the spectre of attendance. Opera and her sisters, ballet and philharmonic, have struggled to fight diminishing audiences through postmodern staging, free champagne, inflatable promotions, and other chicanery. This weekend the New Orleans Opera tries an exorcism of their own: a well executed production of one of the genre's classics, Gioachino Rossini's masterwork, The Barber of Seville.
In Beyreuth and La Scala, Rossini is passe, and much disdain has been reserved for the Metropolitan Opera Company, the standard bearer in this return to the, well, standards. However, the box office at the Met has proven to be a powerful rebuke.
The work proved to be an equally reliable anchor in New Orleans. After Katrina, when the Mahalia Jackson's box office was literally underwater, the New Orleans Opera staged a production of Barber at Tulane's McAlister Auditorium that was lauded on all levels. This weekend's production substitutes Figaro entering through the audience for 2006's band in the audience, but the energy at Mahalia Jackson Theatre offered continued testimony to the appeal of Rossini done right.
Barber of Seville has a simple plot. Count Almaviva (Michele Angelini) is deeply in love with Rosina (Deborah Domanski). His attempts at courtship are disrupted by the meddling of Don Bartolo (Thomas Hammons) who wants to marry Rosina himself. Fortunately, Almaviva has the help of Figaro (Matthew Worth,) a hustling barber. Slapstick antics, arias, and hijinks ensue before a happy resolution.
The term “happy resolution” is rare in opera, but here lies another bit of appeal for the beginner. Rossini's work is a comedy (which means the soprano does not kill herself in the final scene.) New Orleanians will further be able to relate to the prominence of street musicians, balconies, and countless costumes in the storyline.
Of course, the ultimate test of an opera is in the performance, not the plot. Figaro is the title character, but not the main lead. Yet, a good Figaro will carry the piece, and baritone Worth certainly does. He glides through the key arias, including the famed “Largo al factotum della citta” (“Figaro, Figar... Figaro!”) in Act I. But he truly shows his Worth through his acting.
Many productions of Barber are content to rest on powerful voices and familiar melodies, a strategy that belies the sight gags and laugh lines stemming from nuanced moments throughout. Worth overlooks none of these, fulfilling Rossini's vision through superb acting. On several occasions the entire theatre was moved to stitches by a lift of Worth's eyebrow, or a quizzical look on his face.
As Rosina, Mezzo-Soprano Deborah Domanski also delivers, leaving little to desire in the role. She nails “una voce poco fa,” the famed cavatina in Act I. There was much bench strength among the female leads, as Lenora Green in the role of Berta threatened to steal the show. Berta is not particularly important to the plotline, and initially, the viewer wonders why the character is included in the script. However, when Green sings, it is apparent that Berta is an indulgence the audience can wholeheartedly support.
Tenor Michele Angelini holds the trappings of a great Almaviva. He managed to hit all of the notes, but his voice was low and often hard to hear. An announcement before curtain explained that Angelini was ill, but would attempt the role regardless. His performance was impressive given the circumstances, but one can not help but wonder what might have been.
Also of note was Jeffrey Underwood in the role of Officer. Mr. Underwood is a local tuba player whose love for music landed him in the chorus of the New Orleans Opera Association five years ago. Barber marks his role debut. Nurturing local talent is just as vital to opera's survival as the take from the gate.
Just as crucial to the fine evening was the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, who navigated the famed score breathlessly from the pit. Under the direction of Robert Lyall, they stormed out of the gates through the many time signature changes, syncopations and dynamic shifts of the piece's famed overture.
Matthew Latta directed this production perfectly. He shunned gimmicks, focused on all of the script's inherent comedy and soaring arias, and avoided mistakes. The sets were classic opera: two balconies and a bi-level interior. In short, Lata took a good opera, and did it right.
When Rossini premiered his version on Barber of Seville, he was lambasted by rivals. His use of comedy, appeal to the masses, and buffo basso sound were derided by critics as pandering to the masses. But those same masses helped Rossin's form - and organizations like the New Orleans Opera Association - prosper for centuries to come.
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
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