Monday, September 12, 2011

Why is an apple like an opera?

Greetings Adam,

I'm wondering if I might be able to use one of your photographs for an image for an opera production I'm doing (very soon) in NYC.

The above in my in-box last month, and of course I had to say yes.

But yes to what, exactly? What could one of my apples possibly have to do with a production of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, to be staged in Bryant Park at 12:30 pm on September 19?

As it turns out, this will be a performance of the first two acts of the opera only.

But the question still remains: Why is half an apple like half an opera?

Jennifer, the above opera producer-promoter, did not initially explain how she would use the image. A brief vision of one of my photos, blown up to Brobdingnag size, as the backdrop to the stage struck me as unlikely. Not to disparage my own obsession, but just how do apples fit in here?

No matter: anything for the arts. After a lively correspondence I ended up shooting the above image to order. (It's a Mutsu, a characteristically blocky variety and the only apple I had on hand that would not fall over when cut in half.) Note the soft lighting courtesy of Tropical Storm Irene.

I recently had to write a stern takedown letter to a nursery that had stolen some of my photos (and plagiarized my writing) after an alert reader spotted it. Being asked nicely in this case, and having the chance to be generous, has exorcised that unpleasantness for me.

The actual use of the image is modest: an online avatar for @fignyc (Twitter) and at this facebook event page. (That's Burgundy in the background at Twitter.)

The production is being staged by operamission. Were I in the city that day I should certainly attend.

The significance of the apple? Well, it's not about Figaro at all, it's (of course) about the venue.

Cue obligatory visual pun:


  1. How nice that you were asked and your photo valued. And of course it's opera in NYC! You need to do a post on why NYC is called the Big Apple. There must be some connection to apples that created the nickname, you think?

  2. Laurrie, I am not a lexicographer, but there are some very entertaining theories about the origin of The Big Apple at Wikipedia


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