Barber of Seville at Royal Opera in Stockholm – synopsis
Composer and librettist
Music: Gioacchino Rossini. Lyrics: Cesare Sterbini
First performance at: Teatro Argentina in Roma, Italy at 20 februari 1816.
Seen the performance at 22 januari 2010 at the Royal Operahouse in Stockholm, Sweden
Count Almaviva, once noted for his frivolity, has at last found the love of his life in Rosina. It was love at first sight.The couple have seen each other by once and have not exchanged a word, and all Almavivás attempts to get in touch with Rosina have ended in failure. This is because Rosina is closely watched over by Doctor Bartolo, her ward, who himself nurtures a passionate interest in her.
Scene 1. A street in Seville, early norning.
Almaviva has patiently serenaded Rosina outside Bartolo’s house, but she has not responded. Just as Almaviva is about to give up altogether, Figaro – the Count’s ex-valet and now the town’s general factotum arrives on the scene and offers his assistance.
Scene 2. Outside Dr. Bartolo’s house.
Rosina appears on the balcony. To make sure that Rosina loves him for his own sake, Almaviva, in an aria introduces himself to her as Lindoro, an impecunious student.
After extracting the promise of a large sum of money, Figaro places himself at the Count’s disposal and starts planning ways of bringing about a meeting between the two lovers.
Scene 3. In Dr. Bartolo’s surgery.Morning.
The friction between Dr. Bartolo and Rosina has developed into open coflict. The doctor, helped by his friend Basilio, is prepared to go to any lengths to make Rosina marry him.
Rosina sees her salvation in Lindoro and is determined to give herself to him.
Scene 4. In the waiting room.
Figaro sets his plan in motion. Almaviva, dressed as a drunken soldier, attempts to acquire lodgings in the Doctor’s house. Bartolo, however, quickly sees through his disguise, and Almaviva, inflamed with rage against Rosina’s tormentor must be restrained by Figaro. The police, who have heard their altercation from the street, storm in to arrest the trespasser, but Almaviva is able to pacify them merely by revealing his title.
Scene 1. In Dr. Bartolo’s salon.Evening.
Having failed to convince as a soldier, Almaviva once again tries to contact Rosina, this time in the disguise of an obsequious music teacher. He succeeds in winning Barolo over and obtains his permission to give Rosina a music lesson.
Bartolo, however, is unwilling to leave the couple alone, and Figaro is once more obliged to take matter in hand. He manages to steal the key to the balcony from the doctor and sees to it that Almaviva can ask Rosina to elope with him at midnight.
Bartolo exposes the false musicteacher – but too late, for Rosina has already covertly agreed to the Count’s proposal. When Bartolo discovers the lovers’ plans he sends for a notary to make Rosina his wife then and there and thereby put an end to his rival’s aspirations.
Scene 2. In the street.
While the Doctor is sending for the police to arrest the intruder, Almaviva enters through the balcony door.
Scene 3. In Rosina’s room.
Almaviva discloses his true identity for Rosina, and by the time Bartolo returns, Almaviva’s and Rosina’s marriage contract has been duly signed and witnessed. Figaro’s plan has succeeded.
What happened next? See “The Marriage of Figaro”!
Translation by Alan Imber