Chase away the February blues with The Barber of Seville, a feast of frivolous fun. Enjoy Figaro’s mischievous escapades as he assists Count Almaviva in prising the beautiful Rosina away from her lecherous guardian, Dr. Bartolo. Rossini’s comic masterpiece fizzes with memorable melodies in an entertaining production that proves that the road to true love is paved with theft, lies, bribery, brawling—and wicked comedy.
The performance will last approximately 3 hours and 10 minutes, including 1 intermission.
Sung in Italian with English SURTITLES™
Composed by Gioachino Rossini
Libretto by Cesare Sterbini after the play of the same name by Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais
Gioachino Rossini (1792–1868) was the greatest Italian composer of his time. In the first half of his life he was astonishingly prolific, and composed nearly 40 operas by the age of 38. Of those many are key to the repertories of modern opera companies around the world.
Seville. Count Almaviva comes in disguise to the house of Doctor Bartolo and serenades Rosina, whom Bartolo keeps confined to the house. Figaro the barber, who knows all the town’s secrets and scandals, explains to Almaviva that Rosina is Bartolo’s ward, not his daughter, and that the doctor intends to marry her. Figaro devises a plan: the count will disguise himself as a drunken soldier with orders to be quartered at Bartolo’s house so that he may gain access to Rosina. Almaviva is excited and Figaro looks forward to a nice cash pay-off.
Rosina reflects on the voice that has enchanted her and resolves to use her considerable wiles to meet the man it belongs to—as Almaviva has led her to believe, a poor student named Lindoro. Bartolo appears with Rosina’s music master, Don Basilio. Basilio warns Bartolo that Count Almaviva, who has made known his admiration for Rosina, has been seen in Seville. Bartolo decides to marry Rosina immediately. Basilio suggests slander as the most effective means of getting rid of Almaviva. Figaro, who has overheard the plot, warns Rosina and promises to deliver a note from her to Lindoro. Bartolo suspects that Rosina has indeed written a letter, but she outwits him at every turn. Bartolo warns her not to trifle with him.
Almaviva arrives, creating a ruckus in his disguise as a drunken soldier, and secretly passes Rosina his own note. Bartolo is infuriated by the stranger’s behavior and noisily claims that he has an official exemption from billeting soldiers. Figaro announces that a crowd has gathered in the street, curious about the argument they hear coming from inside the house. The civil guard bursts in to arrest Almaviva, but when he secretly reveals his true identity to the captain he is instantly released. Everyone except Figaro is amazed by this turn of events.
MUSIC YOU NEED TO HEAR
Composed by Gioachino Rossini. Libretto by Cesare Sterbini.
Rossini's comic masterpiece had its premiere at Teatro Argentina in Rome in 1816. It was first performed at Vancouver Opera in 1964, and was last produced in 2011. This is the 9th time Vancouver Opera has mounted a main-stage production of The Barber of Seville.
Pictured: Marilyn Horne, Audrey Glass and Ken Remo in our 1968 production of The Barber of Seville.