Artist Nomi Chi Shares their Inspiration for Vancouver Opera’s The Barber of Seville Poster

Artwork by Nomi Chi

By Rachel Rosenberg

Nomi Chi is a Vancouver-based artist who regularly produces tattoos, illustrations and mural art; their work for Gastown Tattoo is so in-demand that their books are often closed and appointments need to be made months in advance. Back in October, we spoke to Nomi about their work on the poster for La Traviata, the first performance of the Vancouver Opera’s 2019/20 season.

This February, the Opera will be performing The Barber of Seville, an influential “comedic masterpiece by Rossini” that plays with themes of mistaken identity and romantic scheming. The poster for the event captures a feeling of disquieting humour, as long disembodied arms cover the eyes and slice at the beard of a long-haired older man.

To get an insight into the creation of such a memorable image, I asked Nomi how they chose what to represent in the poster for The Barber of Seville.

Have you seen or listened to The Barber of Seville yet? 

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to see the play myself as I’ve been away. It would have been exciting to see the source material for so many pop culture and musical references!

Can you briefly describe what it’s about?

The play involves a blooming love interest between Rosina and Count Almaviva, and the attempts made by a swathe of disparate characters to unite them, and to thwart Rosina’s marriage to her jealous guardian Dr.Bartolo.

How did you decide what imagery to use for the poster? Were you inspired by a specific moment of the show?

I didn’t want to draw attention to a specific moment. Rather, I wanted to delineate the various criss-crossed schemes made to unite Rosina and Count Almaviva and distract or resist Dr. Bartolo.

You’ve done various forms of art — each uses a distinct type of canvas. Do you favour one form of art over the others? 

Nope, I need them all!


The Barber of Seville is playing February 13-23 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in downtown Vancouver. Tickets are available here.

You can see more of Nomi’s print pieces here.

Read the article about Nomi from October 2019 here.

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