The fall season may not begin for almost a month according to opera houses worldwide, but according to universities, including my own, it is well and truly upon us. While of course I shall be continuing to obsess about opera without interruption, September may be a month of somewhat sporadic posting, as I reenter the academic arena as student and teacher. If I can be as patient and firm as Minnie with her miners, I'll be doing well. Getting into a routine of waking up with early-morning pinks and golds still on the brickwork, making sure my briefcase is adequately packed, notes adequately prepared for lecture and library, I've been feeling a certain amount of empathy for Figaro being pulled qua, là, su, giù. "Ahimè," I was saying to myself, "che furia! Ahimè, che folla!"
Is it possible not to be drawn in by the animal high spirits of Hermann Prey's Figaro?:
I'm always mildly shocked when Tito Gobbi isn't playing Scarpia... especially when he's having as much fun as here. I love the old-Hollywood-style filming (although why a busy barber is wearing pompoms is a mystery to me):
Watching these, I was struck by something: Figaro is happy. Just listen to him tra-la-la-ing! Keeping long hours, being pulled this way and that, overwhelmed with demands... he's a happy man, who loves his work and is proud of doing it. And I can say that too. I need to remember that, like the barber of Seville, I am "fortunatissimo per verità."