The Barber of Seville: A comic opera

NZ Opera are heading to town again soon with a production of comic opera, The Barber Seville.

Set in 18th century Spain, The Barber of Seville is based on a series of plays by french playwright, Pierre Beaumarchais, and is a tale that has as much romance, deception, secret identities, and misbegotten plotting as any rom-com. The video below gives a good taste of what to expect.

As it's a show that's known for its humour, we thought it might be interesting to ask some of the stars of this production which books, movies or TV shows they find funny. So get ready for some opera singer comedy recommendations!

From Ashraf Sewailam (Don Basilio):

My favourite funny/fuzzy book is the Tales of The City novels (9 books) by Armistead Maupin. They’re not exactly comic, but contain lots of funny situations and great wit.

Catalogue link for Tales of the cityCatalogue link for Further tales of the cityCatalogue for More tales of the city

The novels chronicle life in San Francisco around the tenants of a boarding house on fictional Barbary Lane, located on the real Russian Hill.  The books start in 1976 and end in the early 2010’s. Because the first five books were serialized in the San Francisco chronicle, the author was able to weave into the storylines social commentary on the follies of the day and draw on several real characters in his life, including himself and his personal journey.

The TV series made in the 90’s based on the first three books, as well as the most recent instalment by Netflix based on the premise of the last three books, cannot be bettered.

My go-to funny TV series is Grace and Frankie, starring Jane Fonda and Lilly Tomlin. Along with a cast of wonderful actors, those two bring to life a story about the triumph of women over relationship and personal life cataclysms in older age. In addition to the strong feminist and liberated sexual themes, I love the premise of the story because the first season was released at the same time my relationship of 27 years came to a sudden and devastating end that was unforeseen at the time and completely against my will. The way the storyline resonated with my persona life, (roles reversed , man jilted in my case), brought a certain lightness to how I took the whole ordeal and eventually healed from its devastation.

A very close second is The Marvelous Mrs Maisel.

There are many funny movies, old and new... but one that has remained a constant for so many years is Moonstruck starring Cher, Olympia Dukakis, Vincent Gardenia and Nicolas Cage. Love, death, marriage, family, friendship, loyalty and opera mingle together for this perfect concoction of a romantic comedy that touches the heart and makes it smile every time. Full of profound wisdom, kitchen scenes (food and feeding is closely associated with love and caring for the ones who matter in your life in Mediterranean cultures), opera, raw New York life and incredible performances by the whole cast make this film work like an opera. Always fresh; you never get tired of watching it because there is always something new to discover and all the familiar stuff you already know that warms your heart.

From Morgan Pearse (Figaro):

I’ve never laughed out loud so much than reading Adam Kay’s book This is Going to Hurt. I must have loaned it to half a dozen people!

Catalogue link for This is going to hurt

From Joel Amosa (Fiorello):

Favourite TV show would have to be Seven Periods with Mr. Gormsby an old school NZ TV show about a low decile school and it takes a special reliever teacher to whip some form 5 students into shape. This slightly racial and honest show is a real laugh, incorporating NZ history, Polynesian and Māori morale with Pākehā teaching. Really recommend it to anyone for a laugh. Available on YouTube. 2 seasons, episodes are about 20 mins each. 7 eps per season 🙂

Win tickets to The Barber of Seville

Comment on our Facebook post with your favourite funny book, movie or television show and go in the draw to win a double pass to The Barber of Seville at the Isaac Theatre Royal. A winner will be drawn on Wednesday, 31 July.

Find out more about The Barber of Seville

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