Opera on the Mall

More than 5,000 people took to Independence Park for a night at the opera, featuring Opera Philadelphia's free broadcast of The Barber of Seville.

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Saturday night, more than 5,000 people filled Independence Park to watch Opera Philadelphia‘s free broadcast of Gioacchino Rossini’s The Barber of Seville.

Concertgoers began arriving as early as 4 p.m. to get prime, front-row blanket seats near Chestnut Street where the screen was located. Midway back was the chair section. The entire block was full by the time a screening of the Warner Bros.’ cartoon “Rabbit of Seville” starring Bugs Bunny started at 7 p.m.

Bugs was followed by the The Barber of Seville, which had been recorded live the previous evening. Many of the actors were in the audience, as they had the day off. I learned that opera singers need to rest their voices after a performance, so shows are scheduled every other day.

David Devan, General Director of Opera Philadelphia, told me that this was the fourth annual Opera on the Mall, and it was great opportunity for people to experience an opera if they’d never been to one previously. The Barber of Seville, is playing at the Academy of Music this weekend and there are still tickets available.

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HughE Dillon covers parties, events and more for Philadelphia magazine’s The Scene. You can follow him on Twitter at @iPhillyChitChat and visit his daily online social diary PhillyChitChat.com.