*Rabbit* of Seville


The Barber of Seville is a comic opera by Italian composer Gioachino Rossini. It was premiered in 1816 in Rome and it became one of the most popular operas ever written. It is still performed regularly around the world.

The plot is based on the first of three plays by French playwright Pierre Beaumarchais, and it follows the story of Figaro, a clever and enterprising barber.

The opera "The Marriage of Figaro," written by Mozart 30 years earlier, is based on the same character, and the libretto uses material from the second play by Beaumarchais.

So, you could say that The Barber of Seville is a prequel to The Marriage of Figaro, even though "The Barber" was written *after* "The Marriage" and by a different composer.

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134 years after the premiere of "The Barber of Seville," in 1950, and all the way across the Atlantic, there was an animated rabbit by the name of Bugs Bunny, created by Warner Bros. Cartoons. Bugs Bunny was a regular star in Warner Bros' "Looney Tunes" series, -music-driven short comic stories featuring WB's animated characters. These shorts became enormously popular and had a great impact in American pop culture.

Lucky for us, one of the most famous "Looney Tunes" shorts features Rossini's Barber of Seville, and stars Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. The video is below. You'll see that the arranger (Carl Stalling) takes some liberties and modifies Rossini's original score to fit some of the animated action. It's very cleverly adapted. As you watch, keep an eye out for many gags and jokes, including the following:

  • Around 0:48, you can hear the orchestra "warming up" before the "performance"

  • Around 5:20, the arranger changes a theme from duple to triple meter to make it a waltz. It's very brief!

  • Around 7:11, Elmer Fudd falls into a wedding cake labeled "Marriage of Figaro," which suggests that the opera company has a production of Mozart's opera in the works...

Watch here.

Enjoy!


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