What Do Bugs Bunny and My Wife Have in Common?

  • bugs takes showerShe doesn't call me doc.
  • She doesn't have four fingers on each hand.
  • Normal ears.
  • OK, she can be a smart ass, but that's why I love her, that's not what they have in common.

She and Bugs both were in the opera Barber of Seville. Two of my all time favorite Bugs Bunny cartoons are The Rabbit of Seville and What's Opera Doc? both directed by Chuck Jones. (note that in Seville, he gave himself billing as a star: Carlos Jonzi)

My wife's voice would be like a coloratura soprano, Carmela Soprano. But she did appear on stage at every performance during a two week run of the Barber of Seville by the Kansas City barber of seville posterLyric Opera. She was a supernumerary. An extra. "A super."

When we lived in Boonville (no "e" in the middle) Missouri (Missoura to half the population) a patron of the Lyric Opera restored an old movie theatre back to its glory as an opera house - Thespian Hall. Then he convinced the Lyric Opera of Kansas City that they should perform there for two weeks during the summer. The small town of 5,000 jumped at the chance. I think the orchestra members enjoyed their time in the country. There were some great parties! One in particular I remember was one where a guy hung a giant crystal chandelier from a giant Oak in his backyard. He had white linen on all the tables, and white twinkle lights everywhere. bugs bunny cartoonPretty good for a small town boy.

The community helped with the behind the scenes grunt work. Unloading sets, carrying chairs, getting food and drink, etc. When the opera had a casting call for "supers" she hesitantly applied and was chosen. When you are the member of an opera company everybody sings. Everybody.

The local "supers" were told to forget about the lyrics, forget about making a sound, just stand there and mouth the word "watermelon" over and over. It worked. Even though the rest of the cast was singing in English, you really couldn't tell the supers were just mouthing words. After a few days, a few started mouthing the lyrics they had picked up. None of them uttered a sound during the two week run.

Bugs and my best half are my two favorite opera performers.

Mark Van Patten writes a blog called Going Like Sixty and has been married to the same woman since 1968.

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