Future opera singers are easily identified at birth due to their multi-octave crying and graceful bows as they emerge from the womb. Check out how far these toddling tenors have come with this GrouponLive deal to see Rossini's Barber of Seville at the Garde Arts Center in New London. For $54, you get two tickets for best-available orchestra seating on Saturday, February 2, at 7:30 p.m. (a $112 value). Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Perhaps the pinnacle of comic opera, The Barber of Seville tells the tale of the boisterous Figaro going about his everyday duties: a head of hair or two to cut, a delivered letter here and there, and a bit of matchmaking for hire. Wealthy Count Almaviva desires the beautiful Rosina—and says so in a window-side serenade—but the maiden is in the custody of the vile Dr. Bartolo, who intends to marry her himself. Enter Figaro, armed with a big baritone, a quick wit, and a jacket lined with false mustaches. It takes Almaviva three or four costume changes to do so, but the smitten count is willing to take on all the personas he needs to win the fair Rosina’s heart.
Without a doubt, The Barber of Seville's most famous aria is "Largo al factotum" (“Make way for the factotum”), though Bugs Bunny fans may know it simply as “Figaro! Figaro!” The barber belts this tongue-twisting piece by way of introduction, establishing a personality at once bombastic, bold, and able. Later, in the serene "Una voce poco fa" (“A voice a little while ago”), Rosina’s piping vocal acrobatics betray her heart’s desire for the mysterious caller at her window.
Garde Arts Center
A crimson curtain rises to unveil the operas, nationally touring musicals, children's shows, and films that pass under the historic movie palace's gilded ceiling. Originally built in 1926 as a home for vaudeville performances and motion pictures, the grand venue has survived more than eight decades with the help of The Garde Arts Center, Inc., a nonprofit organization that formed in 1985 to both preserve the building and pursue its mission "to engage, enrich, entertain, and inspire the region of Greater New London." Today, the center stages a slew of performances and events that keep guests on the edges of all 1,472 seats.