Kids may not be familiar with the aria title “Largo al factotum,” but they’ll certainly recognize that its catchy “Figaro, Figaro, Figaro” melody hook from a host of pop culture airings from cartoons (ranging from Sponge Bob Squarepants to “The Simpsons”) to countless sitcoms and movies.
Later this month, Boston Lyric Opera (BLO) will return to the Strand Theater, with four performances of Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” as part of its Opera for Young Audiences format (recommended for grades 2-8). The one-hour “squirm-proof” version is sung completely in English with full sets and costumes and a live orchestra.
Last March, the BLO first visited the Strand with their version of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute.” Though the school performances were snowed out, the community performances were well received. “We were excited by the enthusiasm of the audience and hope to increase both for this year,” reports Mia Howard, BLO’s Marketing Communications Manager, “I am working with Zachary Cohen and Jin Ho Kim at the Uphams Corner Main Streets promotion committee to help reach out to neighborhood residents about ‘The Barber of Seville.’ ”
The 1,100 free tickets to the school matinees have all been distributed. Among the local institutions that will be busing in students are the Neighborhood House Charter School, John Winthrop Elementary, Sarah Greenwood School, Joseph Lee School, and the Mather School.
Last Wednesday, the BLO sponsored a free afternoon preview at the Uphams Corner Branch library to orient folks to opera in general and in particular to the “Barber,” perhaps the greatest comic opera. Students and their families who weren’t able to attend can still prepare by logging to blo.org for the study guide/introduction, plot synopsis, a video preview of the production with that signature melody, and other activities.
There will be two Family Performances, on Feb. 28, at 1:30 and 3:30. The BLO is shaving off half the cost of ticket prices for Dorchester residents who buy seats ahead of time. Enter code BARBER50 online or by telephone by calling 617-542-6772.