How do? Welcome to my shop! Let me cut your mop!

“No good opera plot can be sensible, for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible.”

— W. H. Auden

Just checked the Canadian Opera Company’s 07/08 season lineup and found something ridiculous:

Why is it ridiculous?  For starters, opera buffa favourite The Marriage of Figaro is a sequel to The Barber of Seville.  The two are based on a trilogy of Figaro plays penned by Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais.  Although Figaro was adapted to operatic form first (in 1786, by Mozart), Barber (adapated 1816, by Gioachino Rossini) is the first story of the trilogy.

The effect here is not unlike screening Return of the Jedi first, and then working backward toward Star Wars or (heaven forfend) The Phantom Menace.  Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.  Even Shakespeare’s Wars of the Roses cycle, though not envisioned (or originally performed) as a series, is generally performed in chronological order so as not to unduly confuse the audience.

Even Warner Brothers’ 1950 cartoon short Rabbit of Seville manages to correctly place the Barber segment first and the Figaro segment second.  Why the COC insists on being obtuse with its comedies is beyond me.

Category: Miscellania
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
2 Responses
  1. Alan says:

    Maybe they have a magic helmet that makes it so. That is be best bit of the Bug’s treatment – “with my sword and magic HELLLLmet”

  2. Chris Taylor says:

    What’s Opera, Doc? is a classic, to be sure. Probably my first introduction to Wagner’s Tannhäuser overture. Compared to the hours of boredom that most Wagner operas evoke, it’s a better treatment by far.