Gioachino Rossini

Il barbiere di Siviglia

Opera’s greatest comedy makes a welcome return to the Glyndebourne Festival in Annabel Arden’s stylish, surreal production.

Description

The beautiful Rosina is kept all but prisoner by her guardian Dr Bartolo, who secretly hopes to marry his wealthy ward.

But when Count Almaviva falls in love with Rosina from afar, he enlists the help of cunning barber Figaro to help him outwit Bartolo. A comic battle of wills ensues, but will love or greed be triumphant?

Verdi thought it the greatest operatic comedy – a perfect marriage of wit, energy and exhilarating musical invention. Rossini’s score fizzes with virtuosic brilliance, combining bravura solo arias, set to some of the composer’s best-loved melodies, with breath-taking, intricate ensembles, weaving together the story’s many strands into glittering musical and dramatic harmony.

Embracing the opera’s commedia dell’arte origins, Annabel Arden’s production is suffused with Spanish colour and warmth. Rafael Payare conducts a revival starring 2017 Operalia winner Levy Sekgapane that also reunites the blissful comic double-act of Alessandro Corbelli and Janis Kelly.

‘clever and stylish’
The Times
‘Hera Hyesang Park… is as beguiling musically as she is theatrically’
Financial Times
‘A sparkling revival’
Bachtrack

Creative Team

Conductor
Rafael Payare

Director
Annabel Arden

Revival Director
Sinéad O’Neill

Designer
Joanna Parker

Director of Movement
Toby Sedgwick

Lighting Designer
James Farncombe

London Philharmonic Orchestra
Leader Pieter Schoeman
Fortepiano continuo James Sherlock

The Glyndebourne Chorus
Chorus Master Aidan Oliver

Cast

Fiorello
Harry Thatcher

Count Almaviva
Levy Sekgapane

Figaro
Andrey Zhilikhovsky

Rosina
Hera Hyesang Park

Dr Bartolo
Alessandro Corbelli

Berta
Janis Kelly

Basilio
Adam Palka

Officer
Adam Marsden

Performers
Matt Costain, Luke Murphy, Jofre Carabén van der Meer

On-stage guitarist
Daniel Thomas


Assistant Conductor
Johann Stuckenbruck

Music Preparation
James Sherlock

Giulio Zappa

Language Coach
Barbara Diana

Assistant Director
Steven Whiting

Staff Director
Simone Ibbett-Brown

Supertitles
Sinéad O’Neill

and Ian Julier

Dance Captain
Jofre Carabén van der Meer

Synopsis

Act I

Outside Dr Bartolo’s house, Count Almaviva arrives disguised as Lindoro, an impoverished student, to serenade and win Rosina, who is confined indoors. The Count hopes that Rosina will love him for himself and not for his wealth and status. Figaro, the town barber, jack-of-all-trades, and busybody, arrives and tells the Count that Rosina is not Bartolo’s daughter but his ward and that Bartolo himself plans to marry her. Figaro suggests that the Count gain entrance to Bartolo’s house by disguising himself as a soldier with orders to lodge there.

Rosina, alone, reflects on her love for Lindoro and her plans for outwitting Bartolo in order to marry her young suitor, and warns that she can be formidable when crossed. As she leaves, Bartolo arrives with Basilio, Rosina’s music teacher, who warns Bartolo of Count Almaviva’s interest in Rosina. Basilio advises Bartolo to discredit the Count by spreading slander about him, and Bartolo resolves to marry Rosina immediately. Figaro, who has overheard them, encourages Rosina to write a letter to Lindoro which he will deliver.

The Count enters in the guise of a drunken soldier, demands lodging, and stealthily passes a note to Rosina. Bartolo claims exemption from quartering soldiers. Figaro appears, reporting that all of the hubbub has drawn a crowd outside the house. The police arrive to arrest the rowdy ‘soldier,’ but the disguised Count secretly reveals his true identity to their captain and is immediately released. Everyone – except Figaro – is flabbergasted by the events.

Act II

Count Almaviva turns up at Bartolo’s house again, now disguised as ‘Don Alonso’, a student of Basilio’s come to substitute for the purportedly ailing music teacher. ‘Don Alonso’ tells Bartolo that he has found a letter from Rosina at the inn where both he and Count Almaviva are staying, and he offers to aid in Bartolo’s plot. Now convinced that ‘Don Alonso’ is indeed a student of the scheming Basilio, Bartolo lets him enter to give Rosina her music lesson. As Bartolo snoozes, Rosina and her ‘Lindoro’ (the double-disguised Count) proclaim their love.

Figaro arrives to give Bartolo a shave and succeeds in secretly pocketing the key to Rosina’s balcony. When Basilio suddenly appears, Figaro, the Count and Rosina bribe him to feign sickness and go home. While Figaro shaves Bartolo, Rosina and the Count plot their elopement. But Bartolo overhears and chases everyone away.

Bartolo instructs Basilio to summon a notary to marry him to Rosina that evening. Bartolo then shows Rosina the very letter she wrote to ‘Lindoro’, ostensibly proving that her suitor is really just a procurer for Count Almaviva. Rosina, crestfallen, agrees to marry Bartolo.

After a thunderstorm rages and subsides, Figaro and the Count climb a ladder to Rosina’s balcony and enter her room with the key. After Rosina expresses her heartbreak at her apparent betrayal, the Count reveals his true identity. The lovers wax romantic while Figaro presses them to escape. But when the Count, Rosina and Figaro go to climb down the ladder, they find it missing. Basilio turns up with the notary, and, ceding to bribery and threats, agrees to witness the marriage between the Count and Rosina. The arrival of Bartolo forces a confrontation and then a resolution.

Supported by
Lord and Lady Laidlaw
William Lock

If you are interested in supporting a future production please contact development@glyndebourne.com or learn more here

Image credits
Main image: Painted collage by Shadric Toop
Il barbiere di Siviglia 2019 production photos by Robert Workman

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