Grand opera at its most intimate, OnSite Opera’s Barber of Seville is a stunningly fresh take on an often-stale art form.
- Opera in a beautiful NYC mansion courtyard and library. Epic.
- Fantastic acting well-suited to these levels of intimacy. Subtle changes in facial expression sold the character beats just as well as the operatic notes. Also very cool to have opera singers come right up to the audience and direct lines at them/touch them/etc.
- Gorgeous singing. With that proximity to the performers, I felt their voices resonating in my very soul.
- Very cool lighting effects in the library where all the objects and people were able to swell with color in a way unlike anything I’ve seen in a theater.
- Andrew Wilkowske as Figaro was a fantastic guitar player and endlessly charismatic.
- While entirely an act of god, it was very hot both in the courtyard and in the library. Thankfully the lights were LED which meant they didn’t add any heat to the room. And bonus points to OSO for giving us all water before the show.
- Uncomfortable seats, but even that can be argued as a positive because it kept everyone present in the moment.
- On the writing side: while I certainly appreciate the universality of this farce, I found Figaro to be far and away the most interesting character (and most hilarious), so his absence was very much felt during the second half of the show.
Tales from before and after show:
Full disclosure: I was given two comp tickets to this show through one of the producers, whom I met recently at the Opera America conference in Washington DC. OnSite Opera is interested in pursuing new technologies, so naturally my passion for all things theater and all things technology (particularly virtual reality) meant that we hit it off. There’s a good chance I’ll take part in one of their future productions, which is thrilling!
Also, I was supposed to go with my wife, but she had to work. Instead I ended up going with a friend of a friend who’s studying acting at The New School. She grew up in Romania and enjoyed trying to translate the Italian (which is ever-so-slightly similar). Also interesting coincidence: the opera is a partnership with the New School’s music department, which is soon to merge with the acting department to create the School of Performing Arts.