Monday, September 24, 2012

Rafal Olbinski: Opera Paintings for Opera Geeks

So this past weekend was the enormous Plaza Art Fair here in Kansas City.  Artisans filled the streets of the beautiful Country Club Plaza in Midtown to sell all kinds of things - some were cheesy crafts and others were ultra-expensive original oil paintings.  Even if you don't understand a thing about art, you would definitely find something that is attractive - especially after drinking some cheap wine on the street.  But if not, well, there were several live bands, plenty of booze and high quality food, and hundreds of dogs to stare at as they were dragged through the crowds by their owners (just as some husbands were!)  Trust me, craft fairs aren't always on the top my entertainment list, but for one day a year, with some nice weather, it's worth going just for the novelty of it all.

While we were there, my wife and I were reminded of an amazing gallery we saw at the Venetian in Las Vegas three years ago featuring the works of Rafal Olbinski.  It caught my eye, because the first painting I saw, reminded me of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, and sure enough, it was exactly that - a painting used as the cover art for some opera company.

The Magic Flute

Without the title printed, you can easily tell that this was made for The Magic Flute.  Papageno plays a flute (even though he is given pipes in the opera, Tamino plays the flute).  He's obviously Papageno since it portrays him as part bird, catching another bird.  But Olbinski, set the painting in this manner to show that Papageno becomes the music and the music becomes a character.  Something that anyone who knows the opera should agree!

Of course great detail and understanding of the opera went into these paintings.  The following are all the operatic ones I could find.  Some are absolutely brilliant in my opinion!  Certainly my favorite part is that it takes some time to figure these out, and certainly a very educated opera geek.  If you are having trouble, just click the title to read a synopsis - maybe that will help.


Don Giovanni
Don Giovanni
Don Giovanni
Don Carlos
The Egyptian Helen
Die Fledermaus
The Flying Dutchman
Gemma di Vergy
Il viaggio a Reims
Il viaggio a Reims
King Roger
La Traviata
L'Elisir D'Amore

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