The Barber of Seville Comic opera by Joakino Rossini

Comic opera in three acts by Gioachino Rossini

Libretto Cesare Sterbini

The first part of the Pierre Beaumarchais trilogy "The Barber of Seville, or Vain Care"







Concertmaster VANYA ZLATEVA





Count Almaviva

Dr. Bartolo

Rosina, a graduate of Dr. Bartolo

Figaro, barber

Don Basilio, Rosina's music teacher

Fiorello, servant of Count Almaviva

Bertha, housekeeper for Dr. Bartolo


Notary public




            In 1815, Rossini accepted the offer of Domenico Barbaya, director of the Neapolitan Opera House San Carlo, and became composer and conductor of the theater, but retained the right to work for other opera groups. This year the composer wrote for "San Carlo" musical stage works "Elizabeth the Queen" and for the Roman Theater "Jack" - opera "Torvald and Dorliska" whose premiere is scheduled for December. Rossini has to attend the preparations for this Roman premiere. During his stay in Rome, Duke Sforza-Cesarini offers the composer to write an opera for Theater "Argentina", which he owns. Rossini accepted the proposal and the contract set out the conditions: the opera to be ready for the opening of the carnival in February; composer to attend rehearsals and conducted the first performances; the reward will be four hundred Roman scudis, payable after the third performance. Neither a plot nor a librettist has been determined. But time passes, and Rossini does not receive the text. With one month left to present the completed opera, Rossini himself proposed composing it on the plot of Beaumarchais' The Barber of Seville (1732-1799). The famous French playwright Pierre Beaumarchais wrote the first part of his trilogy "The Barber of Seville, or Vain Caution" in 1773, and the play was staged in Comedy Frances two years later. The theater accepts the composer's proposal.

            The news of Rossini's creation of an opera based on the plot of The Barber of Seville caused a stir in music circles. To write a musical-scenic work, even by such an already famous composer as Rossini, on a plot on which Giovanni Paisiello (1740-1816) created one of the best Italian comic operas, is understood as unheard of audacity.

            The librettist Cesare Sterbini (1784-1831), author of the text and Rossini's previous opera Torvaldo and Dorlisca, significantly reworked Beaumarchais's comedy. It loses a lot of its rebuking power. Although Sterbini has tried to preserve the main features of the characters, some of them are now portrayed differently. Thus Count Almaviva from a typical representative of the aristocracy became a sympathetic opera lover. Sterbini is a good connoisseur of the stage and wrote a really successful libretto for comic opera.

            Rossini was so fascinated by the plot of The Barber of Seville that he became passionate about writing music. The creative process of a composer is always intense and short, but the creation of his most significant work takes him the least time. Some researchers claim that Rossini wrote The Barber of Seville in 12 days. Whether the opera is composed in 12 or 20 days is not so important. The important thing is that a real pearl of music literature has been created. However, it must be said that in this opera Rossini also uses music from his older works. For example, Rosina's famous aria from the second act was taken from the opera "Elizabeth, Queen of England", the famous overture was written for the serious opera "Aurelian and Palmyra" (1813), and was used in "Elizabeth".

            During the creation of the opera, it is said that the young composer begged old Paisiello in a letter not to be angry with him for writing on this plot. However, in the program of the premiere, Rossini explains why he composed this work: new requirements in this genre. "

            The premiere of The Barber of Seville, conducted by the composer, took place on February 20, 1816, at the Argentine Theater in Rome. However, the performance is not very good and the opera is booed. It does not disturb especially Rossini, who manages the second show-cause artists to fulfill their parties according to its requirements. Now the opera is greeted with enthusiasm. Hence the world fame of this immortal work originally called "Almaviva, or Vain Caution."



          A street in Seville. Early in the morning, Count Almaviva, who was in love with Rosina, came to her house and sang a serenade. However, no one responds to his tender love call. Desperate, Almaviva releases his musicians. Unfortunately, this time, too he did not manage to meet the wonderful graduate of Dr. Bartolo. He is ready to leave when a cheerful and merry song is heard in the distance. The count hides around the corner to see who the early riser singer is. Figaro appears - a barber, surgeon, known as a witty joker and merrymaker. Almaviva is happy with the meeting because Figaro has worked for him and he will surely be able to help him. He immediately tells the barber why he arrived in Seville and Figaro gladly accepts to help him. From him, the earl learns that Rosina is not Dr. Bartolo's daughter, but his foster mother; Almaviva must also know that old Bartolo is greedy for Rosina's dowry and wants to marry her himself. The young girl appears on the balcony, but Bartolo comes out right after her. However, Rosina manages to send a note to her unknown admirer, asking him to tell her who she is. Bartolo takes Rosina away and closes all the doors and windows. It is already dawn and the doctor has to go to work. He orders his servant Ambrosio to follow Rosina and, locking the door, leaves the house. The earl in love decides to introduce himself to his beloved as a modest student named Lindor and thus more easily wins her heart. Now the question arises: how to arrange a meeting of lovers? The cunning Figaro draws up a plan: a regiment has arrived in Seville; the count must disguise himself as a soldier, pretend to be drunk, and sneak into Bartolo's house under the pretext of seeking accommodation. This should happen today, as the doctor decided to marry Rosina immediately.

            Rosina is in love with the "student" Lindor and reveals her feelings in his letter. But how to send your note to him? Dr. Bartolo keeps her locked up at home. Figaro is coming - just in time. Rosina wants to give him a letter to Lindor, but at that moment the doctor enters. He immediately expels Figaro because he doubts everyone. Bartolo starts asking Rosina why Figaro came, but with her answers, she only irritates him. The jealous old man also interrogates his servants Bertha and Ambrosio, but he can't learn anything from them either. Angry, he chases them out of the room. Unexpectedly, Rosina's music teacher, Don Basilio, arrives. Bartolo tells his friend that he has decided to marry his graduate tomorrow. For his part, Don Basilio brought him the news that Rosina's admirer, Count Almaviva, had arrived in Seville. The old intriguer don Basilio offers Dr. Bartolo to slander the count in order to defame him in public and make him leave the city. However, Figaro remained in the house and now secretly overhears the whole conversation between the two old men. As soon as Bartolo and Don Basilio go to write the marriage contract, the barber calls Rosina and warns her of the doctor's intentions. Young Rosina is primarily interested in "student" Lindor and wants Figaro to tell her something about him. The barber persuades the girl to write a few words to Lindor. Rosina is allegedly outraged by Figaro's proposal, but as soon as she sees Bartolo coming, she immediately hands the finished letter to the barber. Dr. Bartolo begins to ask Rosina again who was at home, what Figaro was looking for, whether he had delivered a letter. Suddenly the old man sees that Rosina's fingers are stained with ink. He bombards her again with questions - to whom did she write? Rosina confuses him embarrassed, but the doctor doesn't believe it. When he discovers that one of the letterheads is missing, Bartolo is overwhelmed with real rage. Suddenly there is a loud knock on the door. Count Almaviva enters, dressed as a soldier. He pretends to be drunk and shows Dr. Bartolo his ticket. The doctor is horrified by the intrusion of the "drunk soldier" and tells him that he is free to give accommodation to the military. But the "soldier" does not want to know. He now threatens the doctor, now hugs him, which drives Bartolo crazy. There is a great noise, to which everyone rushes - and Rosina, and Figaro, and Don Basilio, and Bertha. In the commotion, Almaviva manages to pass her note to Rosina, but Bartolo sees this. Almaviva also has to draw her sword. There is a huge mess. The noise attracts the city guard. Bartolo and Basilio blame the "drunk soldier" scandal, but when the officer wants to arrest the "soldier," he whispers something in his ear and the officer reverently releases him. Dr. Bartolo and Don Basilio are embarrassed and concerned about the officer's strange behavior.

      Dr. Bartolo is still tormented by the strange fact that the drunken soldier has not been arrested. Who is he? Is he Almaviva's man? There is another knock on the door. Bartolo, annoyed, makes Bertha open; he is not a guest now. An unknown monk enters and introduces himself as Don Alonzo. This is the disguised Count Almaviva. As Don Basilio fell ill, he sent Alonzo to teach Rosina the music lesson. The suspicious doctor does not want to let the unknown monk into his house. Don Alonzo confidentially tells him that he is not only a music teacher but wants to help Bartolo protect Rosina. As proof, he shows the girl's letter to Almaviva. Finally, the doctor is convinced to don Alonzo's good intentions. He allows the lesson to begin. At first, Rosina is surprised by the unknown teacher, but soon she likes the "lesson" very much, especially when Dr. Bartolo does not look at them. To everyone's surprise, Don Basilio arrives unexpectedly. Now Bartolo's suspicions are heating up again. However, Figaro, aided by Almaviva and Rosina, suggested to Don Basilio that he was ill, and they sent him away. The purse of coins that Almaviva gives him also helps to convince the old slanderer. The lesson continues, but Bartolo is already careful. To keep the suspicious doctor at bay, Figaro tells him that he has come today to shave him. During the shave, the teacher and the student get very "hot", which causes Dr. Bartolo to reveal the fraud. Enraged, he expels the supposed don Alonzo and Figaro. The old man immediately orders Ambrosio to call Don Basilio, and he enters Rosina's room to keep her close. Basilio arrives and tells Bartolo that he has not sent any deputies. The music teacher even suspects that Almaviva himself is hiding under the name of Don Alonzo. Bartolo decides to enter into a marriage contract with Rosina that the man she fell in love with is not Lindor at all, but close to Count Almaviva, who persuaded her to run away with him to hand her over to the count. Rosina, deeply embarrassed by Bartolo's words and frustrated by the deception of the alleged student, agrees to marry Bartolo. She even reveals to him the plan for their escape tonight. The frightened Bartolo sends a guard to guard his home. A terrible storm ensues. Count Almaviva and Figaro sneak through the balcony. They quietly call Rosina, but the girl refuses to go with them. She bitterly accuses the "swindler" Lindor, who wanted to hand her over to the unknown count. Then Almaviva reveals to her who she really is and the happy Rosina immediately throws herself on his neck. They head for the balcony, but to their great surprise find that the ladder is gone and their escape route is cut off. The three of them run down to the door, but Don Basilio appears in front of them, accompanied by the notary. Almaviva and Rosina withdraw in fright, but the clever and resourceful Figaro immediately finds a way out: the fugitives force the notary to immediately conclude the marriage contract between Rosina and Count Almaviva, and with the help of such solid arguments as the Count's heavy purse and pistol, even Don Basili he is forced to become a witness. The other witness is Figaro. When Dr. Bartolo arrived with the guard, it was all over. He is saddened to see that he himself helped speed up the marriage by removing the ladder from the balcony and preventing the escape. Almaviva gives up Rosina's dowry and presents it to the doctor - to take comfort in her…