by Carolina Herrera
For the first time, I attended Opening Night at the Opera. I told my rookie companion to wear a jacket and to be prepared for lots of drama and at least one sad aria. Clearly, the only thing I knew about The Barber of Seville was that it was set in Seville, and of course, the famous Overture. Boy was I in for a surprise! But before I tell you my impressions about Rossini’s magnificent ouvre and the Lyric’s incredible production, let me talk about the fashion. Opening night is the night to keep your eyes extra-open. Old men in tuxedos accompanied by beautiful women in gowns are the norm, but there are also the fashionistas, the fashion-forwardistas, and some like me, who weren’t going to the ball, but thought best to put some bling because you don’t want people to think you missed the turn to Soldier Field. I saw turbans, long trains, kimonos, a lot of red and gold, but mostly, a lot of happy people basking in the greatness of the Lyric Opera’s lobby and the great performance ahead of us.
The Barber of Seville Overture played, and one of the most recognizable pieces of music prepared the audience for a real treat. Once it was over, the curtain was raised to show a beautiful set in warm tones and ironwork, reminiscent of a Spanish town. Lindoro (who in reality is Count Almaviva and performed by the powerful tenor Lawrence Brownlee) serenades Rosina at dawn and later recruits Figaro, the barber, to help him win her. I immediately recognized Adam Plachetka from his role as Papageno in The Magic Flute (2016) and was astonished by his ability to hit the right notes and make people laugh. Mr. Plachetka not only has an incredible voice, but a stage presence that is difficult to match.
The mezzo-soprano, Marianne Crebassa, in the role of Rosina mesmerizes with her voice and the ability to do “whatever I want with it”. Rosina lives with her guardian, an old, cranky man (the hilarious Alessandro Corbelli) who wants to marry her, and suspects that he is being two-timed. Figaro, a most resourceful barber, is also a matchmaker, which kind of makes sense, because who hasn’t confided their most intimate secrets to their stylist? Although this barber is of the proactive kind. What happens next is the equivalent of a long episode of I love Lucy, but in a great stage, with beautiful costumes, and wonderful music and singers. I never knew Opera could be so funny and spent the whole time laughing.
This is an opera for the whole family, that provides a light and fun perspective to a genre that is associated with drama and tragedy. If you have never been to the Opera, this is the place to start, and fortunately, opening night is only once a year, so you won’t have to wear a jacket, or too much bling, just please leave the Bears hoodie at home.
The Barber of Seville is a MUST for all Opera fans out there! You can take a rookie and they will enjoy it!
Playing until October 27.
CAROLINA HERRERA. (Monterrey, Mexico). Juris Doctor, Universidad Regiomontana (1989), MA Creative Writing, Universidad de Salamanca (2019). Her first novel #Mujer que piensa (El BeiSMan Press, 2016), was awarded First Prize at the Latino Book Award, in the Best First Novel category, and Honorable Mention in the Best Novel – Romance category. She has been included in several anthologies, including: Ni Barbaras, ni Malinches (Editorial Ars Comunis, 2017), Palabras migrantes, 10 ensayistas mexican@s en Chicago (El BeiSMan Press, 2018), and Lujuria (Editorial Abigarrados, 2019). She’s a member of El BeiSMan’s Editorial Board. TEDx Speaker. She lives in Naperville, Illinois.