Monday, April 13, 2015

Monday Music Break: The Rabbit of Seville and That's Opera Doc

To keep the opera theme going for a third week, I proudly present Looney Tunes The Rabbit of Seville from 1950, starring Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd.

The Barber of Seville was the very first opera She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed and I saw at Seattle Opera's McCaw Hall many years ago. Naturally, I was especially interested in seeing how it compared to "the original" (i.e., this version). My verdict? Not bad, but a lot longer...

Sorry about the kind of odd-looking colors. This was the best one I could find. It has all the zany anarchy of a regular Looney Tune cartoon, with the added bonus of music from the overture to the Barber of Seville. It is hilarious, one of the best cartoons in the Looney Tunes catalog. I never get tired of watching it. And, interestingly enough, in 1950 no one panicked when a little bald guy with a gun started shooting at a rabbit on the stage -- it really was a different time. So different that barber shops such as the one suggested in this cartoon hardly exist any more. I think there are maybe one or two old-school barber shops left in my whole county.

The only other time that the great Chuck Jones and his group of brilliant animators tackled opera again was in 1957 with What's Opera Doc? where they take on Richard Wagner and primarily Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung):

I guess it was too hard to animate a 6-minute short set to opera music and make it conform to the traditional Looney Tunes visual craziness, so we are left with only two examples of what could have been an incredible body of musical parody masterpieces.

To the people that turned them into an Internet-friendly format and posted them on YouTube: Thanks, guys! Now  we'll have them forever!

1 Comment:

double nickel said...

My generation learned everything we know about classical musical by watching Bugs Bunny cartoons every Saturday!