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Gioacchino Antonio Rossini

The Barber of Seville

Gioachino Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia
1988 Schwetzingen Festival.

01:13 Sinfonia

Act I

1. Introduzione
(Fiorello, Coro, Conte)
2. Cavatina
3. Canzone
(Conte, Rosina, Figaro)
4. Duetto
(Figaro, Conte)
5. Cavatina
6. Aria
7. Duetto
1:03:38 "DUNQUE IO SON"
(Rosina, Figaro)
8. Aria
9. Finale I
1:17:58 "EHI, DI CASA!... BUONA GENTE!"
(Conte, Bartolo, Rosina)
(Bartolo, Conte, Rosina, Berta, Basilio)
(Figaro, Bartolo, Conte, Rosina, Berta,
Basilio, Ufficiale, Coro)
Stretta del Finale I
(Bartolo, Coro, Berta, Basilio, Rosina, Conte, Figaro)

Act II

10. Recitativo
11. Aria
(Rosina, Conte)
12. Arietta
13. Quintetto 
(Rosina, Conte, Figaro, Bartolo, Basilio)
14. Aria 
2:15:47 15. Temporale
(Figaro, Conte, Rosina)
16. Terzetto 
(Rosina, Conte)
17. Recitativo instrumentato 
(Bartolo, Conte, Basilio)
Finaletto II 


Rosina: Cecilia Bartoli
Count Almaviva: David Kuebler
Figaro: Gino Quilico
Bartolo: Carlos Feller
Basilio: Robert Lloyd
Fiorillo: Klaus Bruch
Berta: Edith Kertész-Gabry
Ambroigo: Paul Kappeler

Choir of Cologne City Opera
Radio Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart
Gabriele Ferro

The Barber of Seville was not the original title of this opera, though it was of the Beaumarchais play on which it is based. It was Almaviva, ossia l'inutile precauzione (Almaviva, or the Futile Precaution). The reason Rossini took the futile precaution of retitling the work was that a Barber of Seville set to music by Giovanni Paisiello had been popular on the operatic stage for more than thirty years, and Rossini did not wish to offend the respected and irascible composer of over a hundred operas, who was then seventy-five years old.

Despite the precaution, Paisiello's followers (some say inspired by the old man) set up such a din of shouting and catcalls at the premiere of Rossini's work that it was a bad failure. Rossini, who had conducted, slunk out of the theater; but when his leading lady later called to console him, she re- ported that he was imperturbably asleep in bed.

The second and subsequent performances that week went better; but the initial failure made for a slow start for the long and wide popularity of this work. As for Paisiello, he died three and a half months later and never knew that Rossini's work would completely overshadow his own. As a matter of fact, when Paisiello's work is occasionally put on today by some opera workshop, one is struck by the many outward similarities; yet the vigor, the vitality, the musical humor that have made the younger man's work survive many thousands of performances are found in much smaller quantities in thе Рaisiello score. Rossini’s won not only the love of millions but the genuine respect and affection of such utterly differently oriented composers as Beethoven, Wagner, and Brahms.



(Il barbbiere di Siviglia)


Opera in two acts by Gioacchino Antonia Rossini
with libretto in Italian by Cesare Sterbini,
based on the comedy of the same name by
Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais


Dr. Bartolo

Berta, his housekeeper
Rosina, his ward
Basilio, her music teacher
Figaro, a barber

Count Almaviva

Fiorello, his servant


Time: 17th century
Place: Seville

First performance at Rome, February 20, 1816


Doctor Bartolo:

Bass. Guardian of Rosina, who wants to marry her and tries to prevent her eloping with Count Almaviva. Admitting defeat, he gives them his blessing. Aria: A un dottor della mia sorte (‘For a doctor of my standing’); sextet (with Basilio, Figaro, Count, Rosina, and Berta): Freddo ed immobile (‘Awestruck and motionless’). One of the great roles for a buffo bass. Created (1816) by Bartolomeo Botticelli.

Enzo Dara - A un dottor della mia sorte - Il Barbiere di Siviglia



Soprano/mezzo-soprano. Rosina's governess. Aria: Il vecchiotto cerca moglie (‘The old man seeks a wife’). Created (1816) by Elisabetta Loyselet.

Il vecchiotto cerca moglie - Gabriella Corsaro (Il Barbiere di Siviglia-Rossini)



Mezzo-soprano. Ward of the elderly Dr Bartolo, who wants to marry her. She is wooed by the student Lindoro, whom she does not know is Count Almaviva in disguise. He enters the house and they confess their love for each other, but her guardian is suspicious. Almaviva returns, this time disguised as a pupil of her music teacher, Basilio (supposedly ill). During their singing lesson, Bartolo falls asleep and the young couple move closer to each other. With the help of the barber Figaro, they plan their elopement, but are thwarted in their attempts when a ladder placed under the balcony window is removed. However, Figaro coaxes the notary hired by Bartolo, to marry Almaviva and Rosina. Aria: (the ‘letter scene’): Una voce poco fa (‘The voice I heard a while ago’); sextet (with Figaro, Bartolo, Basilio, Berta, and Almaviva): Fredda ed immobile (‘Awestruck and motionless’). Created (1816) by Geltrude Righetti—Giorgi.

Kathleen Battle - Rossini: Una voce poco fa - 1984

Don Basilio:

Bass. Rosina's music-teacher. He suggests to Bartolo, Rosina's guardian, that one way of discouraging the Count, who is wooing Rosina, would be to spread rumours about his character. Aria: La calunnia è un venticello (‘Calumny is a little breeze’); quintet: Buona sera, mio signore (‘Goodnight, dear sir’). Created (1816) by Zenobio Vitarelli.

Gioacchino Rossini La calunnia è un venticello


Baritone. The barber who regularly shaves Dr Bartolo. He assists Count Almaviva in his efforts to meet Bartolo's ward Rosina, whom Bartolo wants to marry. While shaving Bartolo, he manages to secrete the key to the balcony window so the young couple can elope, but their plans are frustrated. However, he finds a notary willing to conduct their wedding ceremony. Aria (one of the most popular of ail comic operatic arias): Largo al factotum ('Make way for the factotum'); sextet (with Count, Rosina, Bartolo, ВавШо, and Berta): Freddo ed immobile ('Awestruck and motionless’). Created (1816) by Luigi Zamboni.

Il Barbiere di Siviglia: "Largo al factotum" (Peter Mattei)

Count Almaviva:

Tenor. A Spanish nobleman, he presents himself as a student, Lindoro, in order to woo Rosina, ward of Dr Bartolo. He is helped by Figaro, Bartolo's barber. He enters Bartolo's house disguised as a drunken soldier and is recognized by Rosina. He is arrested but released when the officer realizes who he is. His second entry to the house is in the guise of Basilio's pupil, come to give Rosina a music lesson. Unfortunately, the real Basilio arrives in the middle of the lesson and has to be ushered out again. Aria: Ecco ridente in cielo ('Lo, in he smilling sky'). Created (1816) by Manuel Garcia.

Alfredo Kraus - "Ecco ridente in cielo" - Barber of Seville - 1987




The overture that we always hear nowadays was not the original overture to the opera, which consisted of a melange of popular Spanish tunes. That one, somehow or other, managed to get lost soon after the first performance. Rossini, a notably lazy fellow, thereupon dug up an old overture from his trunk, one that he had composed seven years earlier for a forgotten tidbit named L'Equivoco stravagante. It had also been useful when he ran short of overtures for two other operas, Aureliano in Palmira and Elizabeth, Queen of England. And though its gay, tripping tunes would scarcely seem to serve well for a tragedy about the Queen of England, it serves so well for The Barber of Seville that certain musical commentators have imagined they saw in it musical portraits of Rosina, Figaro, and Lord knows what else.


Scene 1 On a street in Seville a hired band of musicians gathers to accompany young Count Almaviva as he serenades his lovely Sevillian inamorata, Rosina. It’s a very pretty, florid serenade the Count delivers (Ecco ridente). No use, though; the music fails to summon Rosina, who is closely watched by her old guardian Dr. Bartolo. The musicians are dismissed with considerable trouble by the Count and his servant, Fiorello, and presently a jolly baritone is heard tra-la-la-ing offstage. It is Figaro, the barber, sounding off in praise of himself and telling us how indispensable he is to everyone in town. This self-endorsement is, of course, die delightful Largo al factotum. It quickly turns out that Figaro has known thе Count a long time. (There аren't many people around town he does not know.) Тhе Count—with the aid of a bit of ready cash—enlists Figaro in his purpose to marry Rosina, and they begin to make plans. But they are interrupted by Dr. Bartolo, who leaves his house muttering that be plans to marry Rosina himself that very day.

Now the two conspirators have to act quickly. With Bartolo gone from the house, Almaviva tries another serenade, and this time be identifies himself as Lindoro. Also this time he gets a response. Rosina begins to answer favorably from the balcony, when she is forcibly drawn back by someone inside. The quick brain of Figaro at once hatches a plot. Almaviva shall disguise himself as a drunken soldier and gain entrance into the house by saying that the army has billeted him there. The idea appeals to the Count, and the scene ends with a jolly duet as the lover expresses his delight over the prospects of success while the barber expresses his delight over the prospect of getting paid.

Scene 2 Things happen pretty fast and furiously in the second scene, which takes place in Dt. Bartolo's house. Perhaps the best way to keep them in mind is to make special note of the big arias and concerted numbers. First, then, there is the famous coloratura aria Una voce poco fa. In it Rosina first admits her love for the unknown serenader Lindoro, then vows to marry him despite her guardian, and goes on to tell what a fine, docile wife she could make until thwarted. Under such circumstances she can be as devilish as any other shrew. (Usually, in modem performances, this role is sung by a coloratura soprano. That, however, is not the way Rossini wrote it. He intended it for a coloratura mezzo-soprano, a rather rare phenomenon in the twentieth century.) After her aria she has a cordial little talk with Figaro, the barber, and a less cordial one with Dr. Bartolo.

The next big aria is known as La calunnia - in praise of calumny or vicious gossip. Don Basilio, a music master, reports to his old friend Dr. Bartolo that Count Almaviva has arrived in town, and that be is Rosina's mysterious lover. How is he to be discredited? Why, says Basilio, by calumny. And that is the occasion for the aria, in which evil whispers are graphically described as developing into a veritable storm of disapprobation. Following this comes a long and rather coy dialogue between Figaro and Rosina in which the barber tells the girl that a poor young man named Lindoro is in love with her and she bad better write him a note. Rosina, as a matter of fact, has already written the note, and she gives it to the barber to be delivered. There is then another dialogue-a short one—in which Rosina tries to mislead hei old guardian with a half a dozen lies, all of which tie sees through.

Roused to fury by these attacks on his dignity, Dr. Bartolo has the third big aria of this scene (A un dottor della mia sorte). A professional man or his standing, be says, can't be treated like that—and be orders Rosina locked up in her chamber.

Soon after this enters Count Almaviva according to plan— that is, disguised as a drunken soldier who claims to be billeted in the doctor's house. None of the doctors protests can help him: the apparently drunken soldier disregards his evidence of exemption, threatens him with his sword, shouts and curses—but also manages, sub rosa, to let Rosina know be is Lindoro. Everyhing develops into a terrific uproar as, one by one, the servant Berta, the barber Figaro, and the music master Basilic join in. Finally the police break up the row. The Count is about to be arrested, when he privately shows the police officer his true rank, and the act ends with a brilliant nine-part chorus in which everyone agrees that the whole situation is quite insane. 

Rossini - Il barbiere di Siviglia - 1972

Le comte Almaviva (Lindor) : Luigi Alva (ténor)
Bartholo, médecin : Enzo Dara (basse)
Rosine, riche pupille de Bartholo : Teresa Berganza (soprano)
Figaro, barbier : Hermann Prey (ténor)
Bazile, professeur de chant de Rosine : Paolo Montarsolo (basse)
Berthe, servante de Bartholo : Stefania Malagu (mezzo)
Fiorello, serviteur du comte : Renato Cesari (basse)
Ambroise, serviteur de Bartholo : Hans Kraemmer (rôle muet)
Un officier de la garde : Luigi Roni (basse)
Un notaire : Karl Schaidler (basse)

Chœurs de domestiques,musiciens, soldats.


With the beginning of the second act confusion is even worse confounded. Count Almaviva comes to Bartolo's house in a new disguise-the black cloak and shovel hat of the seventeenth-century professor. He says he is substituting for Don Basilio, who is sick and he insists on giving Rosina a music lesson. During that lesson (in most modem opera houses) thе leading soprano usually interpolates anything from "Home Sweet Home" to the most elaborate coloratura aria. But for the original score Rossini provided a song called L'Inutile precauzione — "The Vain Precaution”一which was the original subtitle to the opera. Dr. Bartolo doesn't like ibis “modem music,” as he calls it» and obliges in his turn with a silly, old-fashioned ditty.

A moment later Figaro enters and insists on shaving the doctor; and while the old fellow is handicapped with a face full of lather, arrangements are made by the lovers for an elopement that evening. But things are just a little too clear to satisfy the authors of this opera, and so Don Basilio enters. He is, of course, not sick at all; but in a very amusing quintet everyone persuades him that he has scarlet fever, and he is packed off to bed. All these unusual developments have aroused Dr. Bartolo's suspicions, and at the end of another amusing concerted number, he shoos everyone out. Then, by way of contrast, there is a cute little song for Berta, thе maid, who remarks on the idiocy of every old fool's wanting to get married.

At this point, the orchestra paints a vivid storm to indicate what the weather is outside and also to suggest tihe passage of some time. (The music for this was borrowed by Rossini from his own opera La pietra del paragone.) Now—enter the Count and Figaro in cloaks, ready for the elopement. First, however, they must persuade Rosina that their intentions are honorable, for until this point she does not know that her Lindoro and the Count Almaviva are one and the same. They are soon ready, and are singing the elopement trio (Zitti, zitti) when they find the ladder gone! It turns out later that Dr. Bartolo had taken it away as he went off to arrange his own marriage to Rosina.

And so, when Basflio and a notaiy arrive-sent by Bartolo —the Count onbes these newcomers to officiate at his wedding to Rosina. The hasty ceremony is scarcely over when Bartolo returns with police officers. Everything is now explained, and the doctor is even partially reconciled to his defeat when the Count assures him he may keep Rosina's dowry for himself. The comedy thus ends—as it should—with general rejoicing.

And if you want to find out what happened subsequently to these characters, turn to the account of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, which is based on Beaumarchais's sequel to his Barber of Seville.

Il Barbiere Di Siviglia aka The Barber of Seville By Rossini - 2008
 Ruggero Raimondi
Mara Bayo
Juan Diego Flrez
 Bruno Pratic
Pietro Spagnoli

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