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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

The Factotum, by Will Liverman and DJ King Rico


Lyric Opera of Chicago / Chicago / Music

Factotum, derived from the Latin, is a word for a person who does it all—like Figaro, the busybody at the center of Rossini’s imperishable Barber of Seville. As a matter of fact, his entrance aria “Largo al factotum”—“Make way for the guy with his finger in every pie,” free translation our own—is not only the locus classicus for the term but likely the only instance most living speakers of modern languages can think of. Until now, that is, with the premiere of the eagerly anticipated, Rossini-inspired romp cooked up by the Grammy-nominated baritone Will Liverman (star of the Met’s Fire Shut Up In My Bones) in tandem with the multi-instrumentalist/composer DJ King Rico and theater director Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj. The authors call their work, which takes place in a Black barber shop on Chicago’s South Side, a “soul opera.” The crazy-quilt score skips nimbly from gospel, funk, rap, and hip-hop to R&B and—duh!—classical barbershop quartets. Largo a Liverman, who also stars. —M.G.

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