By Bob Hicks
The Snark eluded Mr. Scatter. No matter. It was a sporting chase, and no doubt will be continued at the rising of another moon. Some of you may recall our earlier mention of Mr. Scatter’s recent benighted journey into the hinterlands on this odd quest.
Fortunately he has returned to the safe haven of Puddletown just in time to prepare for his next adventure: On Friday he and Mrs. Scatter will be blogging live from Keller Auditorium on opening night of Portland Opera‘s The Barber of Seville. Think of this dynamic duo as the Ferrante & Teicher of the journalistic keyboards, or the Nick and Nora Charles of musical sleuthing.
This four-hand feat, by the way, will come just before Mrs. Scatter’s departure on her own quest, this one to far London town on the trail of Tates ancient and modern, the Victoria and Albert, perhaps a groundling ticket to the Globe, and persistent rumors of dining opportunities beyond steak and kidney pie. It’s a reward well-earned over the past ninemonth; wish her godspeed. She’ll be in the convivial company of her brother the Philosopher King, master baker of bivalves.
But first things first. The Barber of Seville is Gioachino Rossini‘s 1816 comic masterpiece, based on an earlier comedy by Beaumarchais, who in turn seems to have been influenced by the satiric wit of Moliere. You know it, if for no other reason, from that stupendous Looney Tunes encounter between Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. (You know another big Rossini operatic hit, William Tell, from the theme to The Lone Ranger.)
What happens, besides all that wonderful music? Here’s how Portland Opera describes the setup: “Let’s see if we can get this straight. The lovely, young Rosina is the ward of Dr. Bartolo, a comic old geezer who wants to marry her, but she’d rather marry Count Almaviva, who really wants to marry her too, but he can’t even see her because Bartolo’s always there, so what’s a guy to do?”
Bring in the barber, of course. Mr. Scatter notes with some reluctance that certain persons consider him to have robbed the marital cradle in his successful wooing of the young Mrs. Scatter. Mr. Scatter does not wish to be identified with Dr. Bartolo. Please do not jump to unwarranted conclusions.
Mr. and Mrs. Scatter will be joined Friday night by at least one other blogger, the immensely talented and amiable Mike Russell, lord and master of CulturePulp. He not only writes well, he draws well, and he’ll be — get this — cartoon blogging on the Barber. We could be outdone, if not undone.
Illustrations, from top:
— Henry Holiday’s original illustration for Lewis Carroll’s “The Hunting of the Snark,” originally 1876, this edition 1931. This is from the nonsense poem’s “Fit the Seventh: The Banker’s Fate,” in which The Banker is attacked by a Bandersnatch, and goes insane. According to unverified reports, the Bandersnatch has been tentatively identified as one Ben Bernanke.
— This is not a portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Scatter, who remain curiously camera-shy. It is a picture of Daniel Belcher as Figaro and Jennifer Rivera as Rosina in “The Barber of Seville.” Photo: Portland Opera/Cory Weaver