Quite simply, it doesn’t happen often enough. In fact it has never happened; last night was a first. A friend invited me to the opera. Usually I have to go alone.
It’s been a while since I have been to the opera, The Marriage of Figaro was I think the last one. Last night we saw Scottish Opera’s superb production of The Barber of Seville, my first Rossini opera and the first time I didn’t buy a program, relying wholly on the electronic translations above the stage . I definitely prefer this as usually I spend too much time with my head down in the page instead of up at the stage.
Opera translations tickle me pink. Words in Italian and German sound so romantic, so ethereal and profound, and yet the English translation is all too leaden and all too real. I remember excitedly skipping to the famous waltz from Die Fledermaus when I finally bought the whole opera on CD, and reading for the first time in English the lyrics. How soul destroying to discover Rosalind coquettishly explaining to her husband the reason she cannot remove her mask is because of the honking great pimple on her nose. Now that’s romance.
The equally famous aria from Figaro – the one Bugs Bunny made famous, don’t pretend you don’t know it – begins in Italian ‘Largo al factotum della citta’, which means y’all need to make way for the factotum of the city. When Figaro explains ‘Pronto prontissimo son come il fulmine’, I know he is swifter and swifter, and rather like a thunderbolt.
Sadly there isn’t a video of brilliant Ville Rusanen singing the aria and anything else would pale in comparison. Here is Tom and Jerry instead.
There are still a few nights left at the Festival Theatre; why not call a friend?