Giaocchino Rossini: Overture to the Barber of Seville

It comes as a revelation to me that my love of classical music is due in a large part to television. This amuses me, because in its early days lots of controversy surrouned TV, which is very similar to that we hear about the Internet today. Educators at first said it would serve as a great tool to bring learning and culture into every living room in the land. The cultural elite warned that it would harm the arts by becoming an entertainment medium, thereby detracting the public from traditional cultural outlets like theatre, ballet, and the symphony.

Having been born in 1955, I was a member of the audience during those “golden years,” and thinking back I rember a lot of experimentation. The Ernie Kovacs Show once had a sketch set to the music of Bela Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra, and Leonard Berstein gave a series of Young People Concerts. Though nowadays few people think of TV as anything but an entertainment medium, it has brought profound cultural changes to people the world over. In addition, with the widespread use of videocam corders, millions of people have a tool for recording and reflecting upon important events in their lives. (Think of the Rodney King video).

One Saturday, back in those “golden years” I saw a Bugs Bunny cartoon called “The Bunny of Seville.” Elmer Fudd chases Bugs into an opera house where Rossini’s Barber of Seville is being performed. The cartoon is scored to the Overture which has three or four distinct sections. In one, Bugs pretends he’s a barber and while lathering Elmer up, builds a fruit salad that totally covers his face. In another section, Bugs, dressed like Carmen Miranda, sings an enticing song that makes Elmer go weak-kneed. It is still my favorite cartoon to this day.

And though some people may call it a desecration of high art, it made me love this piece of music, and later in high school, The Barber of Seville became the first opera I ever bought.

About kurtnemes
Writer and Education Professional. Specialties include Ethics, Personal Memoir, Classical music, Tai Chi, Stress Reduction, Meditation, Coping, Classical Music, Aging, Love, Joy, Compassion and Equanimity (& what interests me.)

2 Responses to Giaocchino Rossini: Overture to the Barber of Seville

  1. Pam says:

    Unfortunately because of television, I am unable to listen to the William Tell Overature without thinking of the Lone Ranger. I resent this! I get your drift, however.


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