On Music: What's Opera Doc?

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Thanks for all the positive feedback to my first vlog post. You'll definitely be seeing more vids in the near future. Meanwhile, to answer those who've requested CD/mp3 recommendations: a good place to start is the complete recordings of all Bach's solo violin sonatas and partitas. I have several different recordings made by a number of violinists, but my very favorite is Gidon Kremer's most recent (he's recorded them more than once.) You can sample all the tracks on Amazon here.

Kremer's take is extremely dry/staccato, and largely influenced by a lot of the 20th century music he's premiered like Arvo Part and Alfred Schnittke (who we'll be looking at more closely in the coming weeks). If you prefer something more traditional, you might check out Itzhak Perlman's fine recording here, which I also happen to love.

seville1.jpgNow then, let's get down to much more serious business: a discussion of some of the classical music featured in Bugs Bunny cartoons! While many of the Looney Tunes cartoons from the 30s, 40s and 50s feature parodies of the classics, two stand out in my mind as the best, largely because they are sung-through from beginning to end, just like the operas they're sending up.

First we have Bugs Bunny in "The Rabbit of Seville." Here, legendary director Chuck Jones is playing on Rossini's famous opera, The Barber of Seville. The most memorable parts of the 7-minute romp through barbershop sets and backstage scenes are all set to Rossini's overture to the opera. Let's take a listen:

seville2.jpgWorthy of discussion only because of its trivia value, this is one of only a very small handful of Bugs Bunny cartoons where he is briefly seen with five fingers on his hand instead of the usual cartoon-character four. Here, maybe it's because he's playing piano on Elmer Fudd's baldy? (Any BB fans in the house know the other few cartoons?)

killwabbit.jpgIf it gets any better than that, it's only by looking at another Chuck Jones masterpiece, one considered by many cartoon freaks like me as the ultimate Bugs Bunny episode: "What's Opera Doc?" Let's take a listen:

Oh, and if you want the complete skinny on all the Wagner music used in this brilliant 7-minute masterpiece, check out this site here. Someone has actually taken the time to post it scene by scene.

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October 16, 2007 - 9:21pm
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