Rossini’s “Il barbiere di Siviglia” on 3 January RAI 5: from the Rome Opera


Advances for Rossini’s “Il barbiere di Siviglia” on 3 January at 5.40 pm on RAI 5: directed by Mario Martone and the direction of Daniele Gatti from the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma

“Il barbiere di Siviglia”, signed by Mario Martone and directed by Daniele Gatti: the 2020/2021 season of the Rome Opera opens with the comic opera by Gioachino Rossini. An appointment that Rai Cultura offers exclusively on Sunday 3 January at 5.40 pm on Rai5, for an exceptional television event, the result of close collaboration with the Costanzi Theater. As part of this collaboration between Rai and Teatro, Martone will not only carry out the theatrical direction, but will also take care of the television direction of this production, which will transform the Costanzi Theater into a real set. Furthermore, in compliance with the rules for the health emergency, the show will be recorded behind closed doors. The new staging of the opera, based on a libretto by Cesare Sterbini from the play of the same name by Beaumarchais, will have costumes by Anna Biagiotti and lights by Pasquale Mari. The protagonists on stage will be the baritone Andrzej Filonczyk in the title role, the tenor Ruzil Gatin in the role of Count d’Almaviva, the mezzo-soprano Vasilisa Berzhanskaya in those of Rosina, the bass-baritone Alessandro Corbelli in the part of Don Bartolo and the bass Alex Esposito in that of Don Basilio. Patrizia Biccirè (Berta) and Roberto Lorenzi (Fiorello) complete the cast. The Choir of the Opera di Roma is directed by Roberto Gabbiani.

The Barber of Seville is a comic opera by Gioachino Rossini, in two acts, with a libretto by Cesare Sterbini, based on the French comedy of the same name by Pierre Beaumarchais of 1775.

The premiere of Rossini’s opera was staged on February 20, in the carnival of the year 1816 at the Teatro di Torre Argentina in Rome (today Teatro Argentina), with the title Almaviva, or both The Useless Precaution (in deferenza al Barber of Seville by Giovanni Paisiello[1] of 1782) but was suffocated by a storm of protests. In fact, in the audience there were many supporters of the ‘old’ master Paisiello who wanted to make the work fail. However, the next day, at the second performance, the evening turned into an equally sensational triumph. Rossini’s work soon overshadowed that of Paisiello, becoming not only the most famous of the Pesaro composer, but also the comic opera par excellence. For example, still in 1905, the famous tenor Angelo Masini decided to end his career with The Barber of Seville.

The opera is still today among those most performed in theaters all over the world.


Act I

The Count d’Almaviva is in love with the beautiful Rosina, who lives in the house of her elderly guardian Don Bartolo, who in turn secretly intends to marry her. The count asks Figaro, a barber as well as factotum (handyman) of the city, to help him win the girl’s heart, to whom he declared his love with a serenade, but without revealing who he really is: he made her understand that he was Lindoro, a servant of Count D’Almaviva. Figaro advises the count to assume another identity by pretending to be a young officer, even drunk, and to show up at Don Bartolo’s house with the sheet certifying his temporary right of residence in the house, so that he can speak with Rosina. Don Basilio, the girl’s music teacher, knows of the presence of the Count of Almaviva in Seville and suggests that Don Bartolo slander him to diminish his figure, but Don Bartolo wants to speed up the times and, together with Don Basilio, is preparing to write the wedding deed between him and Rosina. Figaro, who has understood everything, communicates it to the girl and urges her to write a note to Lindoro; but Rosina has already written it and gives it to the barber, so that he can deliver it to Lindoro. Later Don Bartolo, realizing that Rosina has written a note, reproaches her (to a doctor of my fate …)

According to plans, the Count d’Almaviva breaks into Don Bartolo’s house disguised as a drunken soldier, but creates such confusion as to provoke the intervention of the gendarmes; however, when the count secretly makes himself recognized by the officer, the soldiers stand at attention, leaving Don Bartolo astonished (look at Don Bartolo he looks like a statue …).

Act II

Don Bartolo begins to have suspicions about the young officer’s true identity. The seductive music teacher Don Alonso arrives (actually always the count, this time in the guise of a music teacher), claiming to have been sent by Don Basilio, who remained at home feverish, to replace him in the singing lesson to Rosina . To gain the guardian’s trust, the fake Don Alonso shows him the note that Rosina had sent him. Meanwhile, Figaro arrives with the task of shaving the landlord. Don Basilio also arrives, and his arrival generates the most total confusion, but some money from the count drives him away: this makes Don Bartolo suspicious and, although Figaro does everything to distract him, he, hearing part of the dialogue between Rosina and her lover, hunting of the house Figaro and the count.

Don Bartolo puts into practice Don Basilio’s advice (slander) and makes Rosina believe that Lindoro is nothing more than an emissary of the count who wants to make fun of her; the girl, embittered, agrees to the wedding with her guardian, who promptly calls the notary. At that moment Don Basilio also arrives, while Figaro and the count enter the house through the window and reach Rosina. Finally the count reveals his identity, to clarify the situation and convince the girl of the sincerity of his love.

Don Bartolo, however, had the ladder removed and the three accomplices find themselves without an escape route. At that moment the notary arrives, called to draw up the marriage contract between Don Bartolo and Rosina. Taking advantage of the temporary absence of the guardian, the count asks Figaro and Don Basilio (subject to an appropriate reward) to act as witnesses and insert his name in the contract instead of Don Bartolo’s. Arrived too late, the latter remains the meager consolation of having saved the dowry for Rosina, which the Count d’Almaviva refuses. Lovers therefore crown their dream.

Structure of the work

Performance of November 15, 1913 at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. (Above, the famous bass Fëdor Ivanovič Šaljapin)

Act I

  • 1. Introduction
    • Choir Piano, pianissimo (Fiorello, Count, Chorus)
    • Cavatina Here, laughing in heaven (Conte)
    • Follow-up to the introduction (Recitative) Hey, Fiorello? … (Count, Fiorello, Chorus)
  • 2 Cavatina Make way for the factotum (Figaro)
  • 3 Song If you know my name you crave (Conte)
  • 4 Duet At the idea of ​​that metal (Figaro, Count)
  • 5 Cavatina A voice just now (Rosina)
  • 6 Aria Slander is a breeze (Basilio)
  • 7 Duet So I am … you are not deceiving me? (Rosina, Figaro)
  • 8 Aria To a doctor of my lot (Bartolo)
  • 9 Final I
    • Hey home … good people … (Count, Bartolo)
    • My gentlemen (Figaro)
    • The force! (All, Officer, Chorus)
    • Save Don Bartolo (Rosina, Conte, Berta, Figaro)
    • Narrow (All, Official, Chorus)

Act II

  • 10 Duet Peace and joy be with you (Count, Bartolo)
  • 11 Aria Against a heart that lights up love (Rosina)
  • 12 Arietta When you are close to me (Bartolo)
  • 13 Quintet Don Basilio! … (Rosina, Conte, Figaro, Bartolo, Basilio)
  • 14 Aria The old man is looking for a wife (Berta)
  • 15 Thunderstorm
  • 16 Threesome Ah! what an unexpected blow (Rosina, Conte, Figaro)
  • 17 Instrumented recitative The Count! … ah, what do I ever hear! … (Count, Bartolo)
  • 18 Aria Cease to resist (Count, Chorus)
  • 19 Finaletto II Yes happy grafting (All, Chorus)

barber of sevillegrande operarossini

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