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Down for the count: Opera stars a no-account nobleman

What nunsense!: Thor Arbjornsson plays the debauched title character in LoftOpera’s production of “Le Comte Ory,” a French opera about an unsavory count who disguises himself as a nun, among other things. The show plays at the Muse in Bushwick until June 11.
Jamie Santamour

This guy has some bad habits.

A farcical French opera opening in Bushwick this week will star a debauched count and his entourage dressing up in nun costumes. The director of “Le Comte Ory,” says the LoftOpera company chose the story about a womanizing count because it combines great music and costumes with a fun, rebellious attitude that audiences can relate to.

“The count is the one who says, ‘F— that, I’m going to do what I want,’ ” said John de los Santos. “This is something that we felt had a lot of contemporary significance as well. It’s hard to find a lot of operatic pieces that are both funny and shocking.”

In the show’s second act, the count and his men disguise themselves as nuns to get inside a forbidden castle.

“It’s really selfish, but it’s a lot of fun and it’s colorful this way,” de los Santos said.

The dozen nun habits were custom-made for the troupe by a liturgical vestment maker.

The show also features 2,500 pieces of fake fruit, which represent the many women who have visited the decadent count. He has asked each of the gals to bring him an edible gift. The nobleman is a fan of women and of food, said the director, and the production emphasizes those aspect.

“It’s about the irresponsible joys of being a libertine,” de los Santos said. “I hope the audience will laugh. It’s a very sexy show.”

But one particular scene emphasizes the opera’s sensual and athletic qualities, said de los Santos — an encounter in a four-poster bed between the disguised count, his assistant, and the countess.

“It’s the climax of the show,” he said. “Pun intended.”

“Le Comte Ory” at the Muse [350 Moffat St. between Knickerbocker and Irving avenues in Bushwick, (929) 400–1678, www.loftopera.com]. June 2, 4, 7, 9, and 11 at 8 pm. $30.

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