Foolish LGBT discrimination in NC, more spring blossoms, and an excellent Barber of Seville
by Rob Tiller
North Carolina is my home, and I love it very much. There is a lot of natural beauty, and there are a lot of smart, warm people. But boy, we’ve got some really ignorant political leadership. It is hard to believe, at this point in history, anyone would truly fear gay and transgender folks. And it’s just shameful to start a fear mongering campaign about the risks posed by improper usage of bathrooms. Has anyone ever heard of an LGBT bathroom attack, or even an awkward moment? Unfortunately, the stupidity and/or cynicism of our legislative Republicans has brought cascades of ridicule on our state, and it looks like there could be real economic damage. Eventually we’ll vote those rascals out (maybe in November?), but meanwhile, it’s painful and embarrassing.
But again, this is a good place to live, and a good time. The azaleas blossomed this week in pinks, whites, and purples, and the delicate dogwoods (our state tree) flowered. It was rainy on Saturday morning, when I went to Raulston Arboretum, and it was awkward holding an umbrella over the camera while taking some of these pictures, but I liked the water on the flowers. On Sunday morning, I went over to Duke Gardens. It was sunny, but breezy, and the flowers tended to move about when I got ready to take their pictures.
On Sunday afternoon, we went with Diane to the N.C. Opera’s production of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. It was wonderful! There was so much life, so much warmth and humor. Previous productions I’ve seen were mostly about delivering those blockbuster arias, but this one was as much about the characters. Stage director Stephanie Havey made it as much fun to watch as it was to listen to, with lots of comedy, some of it Marxist madcap, but some of it almost Shakespearean. The period costumes had elements of whimsey. It took me a while to warm up to the sets, which were sort of postmodern antique facades that rolled in and out, but in the end they worked.
The singing was all very good, and some was superb. I adored the lovely Cecilia Hall as Rosina. She had a richness and fluidity to her mezzo, and she was a fine actress, with intelligence and quick wit. Tyler Simpson as Dr. Bartolo was hilariously grumpy and obtuse, and also a wonderful low baritone, with marvelous diction in the patter songs. Troy Cook as Figaro was instantly likeable, and highly musical. Conductor Timothy Myers led with musical insight. He knew when to take some luxurious time, and when to push quickly forward. The orchestra sounded really good. There were quite a few moments when I had goosebumps and watery eyes at so much rare beauty. It was a privilege.