Il Barbiere di Siviglia
Metropolitan Opera, NYC
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 7:30 pm
Approximate running time 3 hrs. 0 min.
In Bartlett Sher’s effervescent production of Rossini’s most popular opera, Isabel Leonard is the beautiful and feisty Rosina, who won’t be kept under lock and key. Lawrence Brownlee is her conspiring flame, Almaviva, and Christopher Maltman is the omnipotent barber, Figaro. Michele Mariotti conducts.
Seville. Count Almaviva comes in disguise to the house of Doctor Bartolo to serenade Rosina. Bartolo keeps her confined to the house, and Almaviva decides to wait until daylight. Figaro the barber, who knows all the town’s secrets and scandals, arrives. He 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 quartered at Bartolo’s house to gain access to the girl. Almaviva is excited while 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 Count, who she thinks is a poor student named Lindoro. Bartolo appears with Rosina’s music master, Don Basilio, who warns him that Count Almaviva, Rosina’s admirer, 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. Suspicious, Bartolo tries to prove that Rosina has written a letter, but she outwits him at every turn. Angry at her defiance, Bartolo warns her not to trifle with him.
Almaviva arrives, disguised as a drunken soldier, and secretly passes Rosina a note, while Bartolo argues that he has exemption from billeting soldiers. Figaro announces that a crowd has gathered in the street, curious about all the noise 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.
Bartolo suspects that the “soldier” was a spy planted by Almaviva. The Count returns, this time disguised as Don Alonso, a music teacher and student of Don Basilio. He has come to give Rosina her music lesson in place of Basilio, who, he says, is ill at home. “Don Alonso” also tells Bartolo that he is staying at the same inn as Almaviva and has found the letter from Rosina. He offers to tell her that it was given to him by another woman, seemingly to prove that Lindoro is toying with Rosina on Almaviva’s behalf. This convinces Bartolo that “Don Alonso” is indeed a student of Don Basilio and he allows him to give Rosina her music lesson. She sings an aria, and, with Bartolo dozing off, Almaviva and Rosina express their love.
Figaro arrives to give Bartolo his shave and manages to snatch the key that opens the balcony shutters. Suddenly Basilio shows up looking perfectly healthy. Almaviva, Rosina, and Figaro convince him with a quick bribe that he is sick with scarlet fever. Basilio leaves, confused but richer. Almaviva plots with Rosina to elope that night while Bartolo gets his shave. When the doctor hears the phrase “my disguise,” he furiously realizes he has been tricked again. Everyone leaves.
The maid Berta comments on the crazy household. Basilio is summoned and told to bring a notary so Bartolo can marry Rosina that evening. Bartolo then shows Rosina her letter to Lindoro. Heartbroken and convinced that she has been deceived, she agrees to marry Bartolo and tells him of the plan to elope with Lindoro. A storm passes. Figaro and the Count climb over the wall. Rosina is furious until Almaviva reveals his true identity. Basilio arrives with the notary. Bribed and threatened, he agrees to be a witness to the marriage of Rosina and Almaviva. Bartolo appears with soldiers, but it is too late. Almaviva explains to Bartolo that it is useless to protest and Bartolo accepts that he has been beaten. Figaro, Rosina, and the Count celebrate their good fortune.
CONDUCTOR (Urbino, Italy)
DEBUT Carmen, 2012
REPERTORY La Donna del Lago, Il Barbiere di Siviglia
Hometown: New York, New York
Met debut Stéphano in Roméo et Juliette (2007)
Performance history Blanche in Dialogues des Carmélites, Rosina in The Barber of Seville, Miranda in The Tempest, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, and Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro
TENOR (Youngstown, Ohio)
DEBUT Count Almaviva, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, 2007
REPERTORY Count Almaviva, Il Barbiere di Siviglia
BARITONE (Cleethorpes, England)
DEBUT Harlequin, Ariadne auf Naxos, 2005
REPERTORY Figaro, Il Barbiere di Siviglia
BASS-BARITONE (Como, Italy)
DEBUT Dr. Bartolo, Le Nozze di Figaro, 2005
REPERTORY Dr. Bartolo, Le Nozze di Figaro
BASS (Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia)
DEBUT Ramfis, Aida, 1989
REPERTORY Don Basilio, Il Barbiere di Siviglia