The house lights dimmed as the production began, and teachers hushed hundreds of children from schools across the city. They were at the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center to watch the dress rehearsal of “The Barber of Seville,” an annual holiday production.
The famous comic opera, originally created by Gioachino Rossini in 1816, has been brought back to The Met in the form of a family-friendly adaptation for the holiday season.
Bartlett Sher adapted the opera, starring Isabel Leonard as Rosina, with Anthony Walker conducting. But there was a different atmosphere in the audience for this final dress rehearsal, with the crowd decades younger than the usual opera audience.
“I like it when that anvil fell and squashed the pumpkins and the cart,” said Carmelo De Mio, 7, a student at P.S. 58 in Brooklyn. “It must have taken a long time to do that.”
A total of 157 second grade students from P.S. 58 took the subway all the way from Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. Most had never seen the opera, but had spent two months preparing for the performance by learning about it from their music teacher.
Maddy Pravda, 7, had been watching YouTube videos of past “Barber of Seville” performances every morning. While her favorite song at the moment is Adele’s “Hello,” she said she loved learning the songs for this opera and was eager to see it live.
“I like the part where Count Almaviva gets the note from Rosina,” said Maddy as she enthusiastically waited during intermission for the second act.
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