Il barbiere di Siviglia

The Barber of Seville

by Gioachino Rossini

Comic opera in three acts
Libretto by Cesare Sterbini based on the comedy Le Barbier de Séville ou La précaution inutile by Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais
in Italian with german surtitles
In his opera Rossini brought together a string of well-known “commedia dll’arte” characters of which he formed an irresistible comedy – full of intrigue and charade: the mercenary guardian Doctor Bartolo and his conniving henchman Basilio, his wealthy charge Rosina and her secret lover Lindoro (alias Count Almaviva) and finally the barber Figaro himself, who assists the young couple in the pursuit of their love against all odds. The opera’s world premiere in 1816 was accompanied by boos and catcalls – only to get firmly established in the world of opera shortly after. Rossini’s work by now has developed into one of the most popular and most frequently played operas world-wide.
Act I: approx. 1 h 35 min
Pause: approx. 30 min
Act II: approx. 50 min
World premiere
1816 in Rome

This production's premiere

Back on stage
3 June 2021
Recommended age
from grade 8
There will be an introduction 45 minutes before the performance at foyer I. floor.
In Madrid, Count Almaviva encounters a woman whose beauty fascinates him so much that he follows her to Seville, where her guardian, Doctor Bartolo, has his medical practice. Night and day, the Count serenades beneath Rosina's windows, but without success. Unexpectedly, his former servant Figaro appears. He has set himself up as a barber and has become indispensable as factotum in Bartolo's house. He explains to Almaviva that the guardian wants to take possession of Rosina's inheritance by marrying her soon, and that is why he keeps a close watch on her. When Rosina appears on the balcony, Figaro encourages the count to sing another serenade. Almaviva presents himself as a poor but true admirer of her. After he has been assured of a rich reward, Figaro works out a plan on how to bring the two together. The count is to dress up as a drunken soldier to allay Bartolo's suspicions. Equipped with the appropriate army notification, the Count is to insist on being accommodated in the house.

Rosina has written a letter and hopes that Figaro will give it to him. Bartolo who is suspicious of the busy barber, prevents it. Rosina's music master, the scheming Don Basilio, informs Bartolo about the Count Almaviva being in pursuit of his ward. While Basilio urges him to deal with the matter by slandering his rival, Bartolo hurries arrangements along for a quick wedding. Figaro, who has secretly heard this conversation, warns Rosina and asks her for a sign of her affection for Lindoro. Bartolo's suspicions set him on the trail of the letter, but Rosina boldly refutes all his arguments. Almaviva noisily enters the house as a drunken soldier. He succeeds in revealing himself to Rosina as Lindoro and secretly hands her a note. But he does not succeed in his real aim of being accommodated, as Bartolo as physician is released from the obligation of providing military quarters. The quarrel with the guardian ends in a tumult which brings the guards to the spot. The count escapes arrest only by showing a document.

After the failure of the first plan, Almaviva takes on a new disguise. He presents himself as Don Alonso, student of the allegedly ill Basilio ready to give Rosina her music lesson. Since Bartolo is suspicious, the Count hands over Rosina's letter to gain his confidence. The music lesson starts but is interrupted by Figaro. He insists on shaving Bartolo immediately despite the latter's objections. With the excuse that he must bring towels for shaving, he manages to obtain the key to the balcony.

Great confusion ensues when the supposedly ill Basilio appears. He withdraws only when the count secretly gives him money. Figaro distracts Bartolo's attention as he shaves him so that Almaviva and Rosina are able to plan their elopement. Nevertheless, Bartolo overhears something said by the count and sees through the disguise. He throws the men out. Bartolo plans to hurry things up and asks Basilio to fetch the notary immediately. He reproaches Rosina with the letter Alonso gave him. Rosina is convinced that Lindoro is in Almaviva's service and is upset at his betrayal. While Bartolo runs to the police to prevent an abduction, Almaviva and Figaro enter the house by the balcony. Rosina reproaches Lindoro until he reveals himself as the Count and convinces her of his true love. When Basilio returns with the notary, he is bribed to act as a witness together with Figaro. Bartolo appears on the scene too late. His only comfort is that the Count is prepared to take Rosina without her dowry.
The complete text of the opera in english translation can be found here: