Anyone who sees and hears Figaro’s aria in The Barber of Seville is probably charmed by the verbal dexterity required of this bass-baritone role. If part of your childhood included watching re-runs of old Danny Kaye movies where he similarly sings with Road Runner speed, all the more so. If you instead came up singing rap and hip-hop rhymes that fast pace singing might instead strike you as the stuff of the every day. Or so one imagines it did for composers K. F. Jacques and ‘Kechi, who let this Figaro briefly do a turn both with the Rossini traditional score in his portrayal of the Michael Cohen- like fixer Figaro character and also the fast-paced hip-hop score of their making for THE ROSINA PROJECT.
Based on a concept by Chicago Fringe Opera’s George Cederquist, THE ROSINA PROJECT is a shoulder spin, hand standing, somersaulting romp laced with break dance moves and talents from Bravesoul Movement. We might be in a hall in Uptown’s Alternatives service center, but when the deejay (Oliver Fade) isn’t scratching ,the beat boxer (Yuri Basho Lane) is ever present keeping up the beat such that we feel like we are in what may be the most happening house music party on the planet.
It is Rossini’s story line, except with a feminist ending twist. (Spoiler Alert!) This Rosina (Pinqy Ring with tempera red hair and matching red bustier), has the last word. She tells off the bully Bartolo (Tommy Solace) that she has had it with his misogyny and wonders if he got so mean because he suffered from not knowing a mother’s loving touch. Tell him girlfriend! Tell him! And actually, she decides that the whole romance thing might be overrated, giving her dreamy romantic interest, Almaviva (Mikey to the P) the kind brush-off too.
From beginning to end, this is fun. Chicagoans who just soaked up the choreographed rumbles in Lyric Opera’s West Side Story should grab this chance to be part of another musical rumble—but in this case breaking down the fourth wall to do your stuff on the stage. Time permitting, you get to shake your booty in the post-show dance party too.
Concept & Stage Direction: George Cederquist
Composers & Producers: K. F. Jacques and 'Kechi
Lead Writer : Mikey to the P
Associate Director: Natalja Aicardi
DJ: Oliver Fade
Beatboxer: Yuri Basho Lane
Recitative Composer & Producer: ‘Kechi
Dancers: Dedrick "D. Banks" Gray; Keisha Bennett; Christopher "Ayala"
Choreographers: Kelsa 'K-Soul' Robinson and Daniel 'BRAVEMONK' Haywood
Rosina: Pinqy Ring
Bartolo: Austin Fillmore
Almaviva - Andy Aughenbaugh
Basilio - BRAVEMONK
Figaro - K. F. Jacques
Hyphena - Anyi
DANCERS : BraveSoul Movement
Dramaturg: John Drea
Lighting Designer: John Holmes
Production Assistant: Katherine Fennessey
CREATIVE CONSULTANTS: Matthan Black, DJ White Russian, The Q Brothers
Watch this video previewing Picture This Post's OPERAS WE LOVE - roundup.
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About the Author:
Amy Munice is Editor-in-Chief and Co-Publisher of Picture This Post. She covers books, dance, film, theater, music, museums and travel. Prior to founding Picture This Post, Amy was a freelance writer and global PR specialist for decades—writing and ghostwriting thousands of articles and promotional communications on a wide range of technical and not-so-technical topics.
Amy hopes the magazine’s click-a-picture-to-read-a-vivid-account format will nourish those ever hunting for under-discovered cultural treasures. She especially loves writing articles about travel finds, showcasing works by cultural warriors of a progressive bent, and shining a light on bold, creative strokes by fledgling artists in all genres.