Hands up– who knows Rossini’s Barber of Seville (and has only ever heard it) because of Bugs Bunny? When I was a wee lass, my Aunt took me to the opera every year or two. I enjoyed it to be sure, but it was always funny to me when my introduction to one of the arias was because of Saturday Mornings with Chuck Jones. So with the Loony Tunes, the seeds were planted, but with OperaHamilton, they grew.
But sometimes, things don’t grow like you expect. Sometimes, you find yourself hypnotized by the sight of Luciano Pavarotti singing Funiculì, Funiculà with Aqua on PBS. What remote-control witchcraft had to happen that we landed on *that*? Serendipitous channel-surfing, to be sure. I know, that’s more of a folk song than classical, but Lene in that dress and Rene with that gravelly club voice. Oh my, so good.
Sometimes, the Very Serious Arias get into the grubby hands of the East Village Opera Company, and they layer a dirty guitar bass line onto the sublime works of Rossini or Leoncavallo or Lakmé or Verdi:
And sometimes you find an online music streaming service with a Symphonica channel that sometimes had bands playing with some symphony or philharmonic, but mostly, it was regular radio-play songs that had symphony instruments in addition to the drum kit and the guitars. So good. I guess I was the only one listening to that channel, though, because it was removed from the offerings abruptly, and never replaced. Boo.
This week, we celebrate the symphonica as it appears in pop culture, because sometimes if the decade old online streaming site (that doesn’t even exist anymore) ain’t gonna do it for you, you have to do it yourself.