GP at The Met: The Barber of Seville
Introduction
the barber of seville

Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

Composer: Gioacchino Rossini

Librettist: Cesare Sterbini, based on the play by Pierre Beaumarchais

Production: Bartlett Sher

Conductor: Maurizio Benini

Performers: Joyce DiDonato (Rosina), Juan Diego Flórez (Count Almaviva), Peter Mattei (Figaro), John Del Carlo (Dr. Bartolo), John Relyea (Don Basilio), Claudia Waite (Berta), Mark Schowalter (Sergeant), Brian Davis (Fiorello), Rob Besserer (Ambrogio)

Synopsis:
Act I
Count Almaviva comes in disguise to the house of Dr. Bartolo to serenade Rosina (”Ecco ridente”). Dr. Bartolo keeps Rosina, whom he intends to marry, confined to the house. Almaviva pays the musicians and decides to wait until daylight in the hope of seeing her. Figaro the Barber, who has access to the houses in Seville and knows the town’s secrets and scandals, arrives and describes his busy life (”Largo al factotum”). The Count sings another serenade to Rosina, calling himself Lindoro, a poor student. Figaro devises a plan: the Count will disguise himself as a drunken soldier quartered at Dr. Bartolo’s house to gain access to Rosina. The Count is excited about this plan while Figaro looks forward to a nice cash payoff from the grateful Count (”All’idea di quel metallo”).

Rosina reflects on the voice that has enchanted her heart and resolves to use her considerable wiles to meet Lindoro (”Una voce poco fa”). Dr. Bartolo appears with Rosina’s music master, Don Basilio, who warns him that Count Almaviva, Rosina’s admirer, has been seen in Seville. Dr. Bartolo decides to marry Rosina immediately. Basilio praises slander as the most effective means of getting rid of Almaviva (”La calunnia”). Figaro overhears the plot, warns Rosina, and promises to deliver a letter from her to Lindoro (”Dunque io son”). Suspicious of Rosina, Dr. Bartolo tries to prove that she has written a letter, but she outwits him at every turn. Dr. Bartolo is angry at her defiance and warns her not to trifle with him (”A un dottor della mia sorte”).

Almaviva arrives, disguised as a drunken soldier, and passes Rosina a note, which she manages to hide from Dr. Bartolo. The old man 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 burst in to arrest the drunken soldier. The Count reveals his true identity to the captain and is instantly released. Everyone except Figaro is amazed by this turn of events, and everyone comments on the crazy events of the morning.

Act II
Dr. Bartolo suspects that the “drunken soldier” was a spy planted by Almaviva. The Count returns, this time disguised as Don Alonso, a music teacher and student of Don Basilio (”Pace e gioia sia con voi”). He has come to give Rosina her music lesson in place of Basilio who, he says, is ill at home. Don Alonso also tells Dr. Bartolo that he is staying at the same inn as Almaviva and has found the letter from Rosina. He offers to tell Rosina that it was given to him by another woman, proving that Lindoro is toying with her on Almaviva’s behalf. This convinces Dr. Bartolo that Don Alonso is a true student of Don Basilio, and he allows him to give Rosina her music lesson (”Contro un cor”). Figaro arrives to give Dr. Bartolo his shave and manages to snatch the key that opens the balcony shutters. The shaving is about to begin when Basilio shows up looking perfectly healthy.

The Count, Rosina, and Figaro convince Basilio, with repeated assurances and a quick bribe, that he is sick with scarlet fever (”Buona sera, mio signore”). Basilio leaves for home, confused but richer. The shaving begins, sufficiently distracting Dr. Bartolo from hearing Almaviva plotting with Rosina to elope that night. Dr. Bartolo hears the phrase “my disguise” and furiously realizes he has been tricked again. Everyone leaves.

The maid Berta comments on the crazy household (”Il vecchiotto cerca moglie”).

Basilio is summoned and told to bring a notary so Dr. Bartolo can marry Rosina that very evening. Dr. Bartolo then shows Rosina her letter to Lindoro. Heartbroken and convinced that she has been deceived, she agrees to marry Dr. 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 with a valuable ring and threatened with a couple of bullets in the head, Basilio agrees to be a witness to the marriage of Rosina and Almaviva. Dr. Bartolo arrives with soldiers, but it is too late. Count Almaviva explains to Dr. Bartolo that it is useless to protest (”Cessa di più resistere”) and Dr. Bartolo accepts that he has been beaten. Figaro, Rosina, and the Count celebrate their good fortune.

Opera synopsis courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera

Funding for GREAT PERFORMANCES AT THE MET: “The Barber of Seville” has been provided by Toll Brothers, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Sybil B. Harrington Endowment Fund, and PBS.

Related Web Sites

  • david cole

    delightful and wonderful—J D F superb

  • Ruth Parker

    Is there any way for me to purchase a copy of this performance?

  • kc

    this the only opera ive ever watched but i now love this so much!

  • susan stone

    I would like to buy a copy of this performance too.

  • Maria Burns

    I must have a dvd/copy of this performance. Where can I get one? It is the first opera that I have watched all the way through. I LOVE it!

  • Deborah Dundas

    Delightful! I also wish to buy a DVD of this! I can’t find one either. Where can we buy one?

  • Ronald Robinson

    I must have a copy of this opera but have not been able to find it anywhere. Does anyone know if this is on DVD yet or if it will come to DVD? This performance is magnificent!
    Ron Robinson

  • Bill

    It’s sad, one of the finest performance of 2006/2007 season and the powers to be did not release it on DVD. They usually wait until it aired again in the theaters and on PBS. I’m still waiting and they say they have no plans to release this popular production. Maybe they don’t want another with Juan Diego Florez Barber of Seville out there. I wrote the met, if you agree, send them an email. I’m hoping they can work out a way to release this fine performance down the road.

  • Ronald Robinson

    This must be made avaialble on DVD! Folks in charge, please see about distributing this on a DVD that we can purchase.

  • Ali

    I have also e-mailed the Met asking for a DVD of this performance. What a shame they are refusing us!

  • Bill

    I concur with above. I saw this outstanding performance in the theater. When it played on my local PBS station they had technical problems with the sound on the left side of the stage. Why has the Met not released this on DVD. It makes no since no to release the best Barber they ever produced in many years, and they certainly would make money on this DVD. Da….

  • Aaron

    I have searched and searched for a dvd copy of this production.. i have seen many other productions and none of the are as good as this one.. where can i get one?

  • Hal

    There is a DVD of Florez in the Barber done in Madrid. I think the Barber he is now doing in London was supposed to be put on DVD, but now that DiDonato broke her leg, that might not happen.

  • Donna

    I found what I think is this production done May 2007 at the Met – at ‘Rare Jazz, Blues & Opera DVDs’. Good luck! Link is: http://shop.vendio.com/blackivory28/item/2006732395/index.html

  • roger

    Sounds like many people would like to purchase this production. (Alas, I had it on my DVR after the broadcast, but it “disappeared.”) Has anyone purchased the DVD disk referenced in the last note to ensure that it is the correct performance and of suitable quality?

  • john

    I just (Friday) ordered a copy of this DVD from BlackIvory.
    I also suggested to him that he “do” a DVD of the 2004 Opera Australia production of “The Mikado” which by all accounts is the best (potential release of) Mikado going. It was presented on Australian TV in 2004 and most think it was far superior to the current Opera Australia Mikado which IS available on DVD. The cast included three greats: David Hobson, Anthony Warlow and John Bolton-Wood.
    I will give my opinion of the “Barber” as soon as I view it.
    Cheers!

  • jane mack

    I just received my copy of this DVD today. It took a couple of weeks to get here but it was definately worth the wait. It is the same production that was shown on PBS in 2007. Plays great and i’ll be ordering more operas that are hard to find from BlackIvory

  • john

    Hi Jane,
    Can you give us a review of the video and audio quality, just your opinion.
    Thanks,
    John

  • gretchen johnsonbaugh

    I also am looking for this production. I went online for BlackIvory and am unable to find the DVD. Can you give me any more information on how you found it?

  • john

    Gretchen,
    See web site in message #14. Click on it. You can order it there.
    John

  • Gretchen Johnsonbaugh

    Thank you John. I was able to order it. My husband who is not an opera fan, saw this on PBS and loved it. He asked for it for his birthday. He will be pleased!

  • Jewel

    The DVD is a pirated version of the PBS show. It comes in a makeshift box with a color copy insert and non-labeled dvds – and the quality is poor as well. Obviously, an amateur. I paid $25 plus shipping for this – I could have Tivo’d this for free!! And it took 3 weeks – apparently it’s pirated in Yugoslavia! Very disappointed. Don’t buy it! Hopefully one day the Met will publish the real version.

  • JOHN BENFORD

    I disagree. Our copy was excellent, far better than any copy I could have made from either live or dvr. Cheers!

  • Donna D.

    I thought this was so wonderful that I know I’d watch it again and again. In agreement with other viewers I would love to see PBS put this on DVD (I do see it is available elsewhere but I’d rather not have a poor quality pirated version).

  • Hannah Shepard

    Hi – TV Guide shows that THE BARBER OF SEVILLE will be on tonight – 3/17/10 – but your Schedule doe NOT. WHEN will you actually air this program..??

  • david ernst

    Hi Hannah,

    Thanks for your interest in Great Performances at the Met! Make sure to set your local PBS station as your preferred station on PBS.ORG and then use our online schedule to see when the show is airing in your area. Click here for the schedule http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/schedule-met/ and remember to change the location settings to your own local station. We hope you stay tuned for more Great Performances at the Met!

  • julia paton

    where and how can i buy the dvd for this performance?

  • Richard Alvarez

    I would also like to have a DVD of this Opera. I would Also like the CD if there is one. Can you let me know if I can buy one. Thanks

  • Justin T

    I throughly enjoyed this spectacular performance and would also be interested in purchasing a DVD copy of the program.

  • Suzanne T

    Had this on the DVR and my younger son erased it, forever blacklisting himself with his opera loving sister and myself! Ordered the “break a leg” production from Covent Garden, but would love to have this one too. There must be a reason that the Met hasn’t released it and it must have to do with either the director’s agent or that of one of the performers (can’t be JdD or JDF…). Come on Met, What’s going on???

  • Kathleen R

    Please PBS release a DVD of this wonderful presentation

  • Derry

    I also wish to be able to get a DVD of this fabulous production. What is the reason that it hasn’t been made available?

  • Dominic

    Found a website that MIGHT have it, I don’t know for sure and the legality of it is suspect at best so I’m not going to find out, but if someone wants to take a chance: http://www.dedicatedtv.net/downloads/uncategorized-s784/great-performances-at-the-met-the-barber-of-seville-ws-dsr-xvid-walmart-d49045.html

  • Terry McGee

    Just read all postings above. I too wonder why the Met or PBS has not put out a DVD of this magnificent opera. The casting was perfect. The voices spectacular! The staging innovative and creative. At 70 years old I have seen a lot of productions of the Barber of Seville (my favorite opera). This one is the absolute best ever. I bought the DVD of the London production where Joyce DiDonato broke her leg and it was a big disappointment. Not with her singing but with the staging (I perfer classical staging as Rossini wrote it) but the casting just didn’t blend together as well as the Met’s Barber did and superbly too. PLEASE to the Met’s powers to be: Please, please release a DVD AND a CD (so we can listen in the car too) of your wonderful 2007 production of the Barber of Seville.

  • Tudor Pietreanu

    This is may just the best performance I have seen of any opera. Just outstanding: the cast, the production, the video and sound quality of this most sublime work. I am fortunate to still have is on my PVR and can watch it again and again. I really think making this available on blue-ray transcends financial interests and should be seen as a service to art and culture and a matter of pride for those who were involved in such a magnificent performance.

  • Eileen Person

    I would like to purchase a copy of this performance too. Have you received any information? Thank you for any help that you can provide.

  • Carlos M. Aguiar

    Performers: Joyce DiDonato (Rosina), Juan Diego Flórez (Count Almaviva), Peter Mattei (Figaro), John Del Carlo (Dr. Bartolo), John Relyea (Don Basilio), Claudia Waite (Berta), Mark Schowalter (Sergeant), Brian Davis (Fiorello), Rob Besserer (Ambrogio) 2007 production

    PLEASE ADVISE WHERE I CAN ORDER A COPY OF THIS DVD.

    Thanks,

  • Jacob J Dillenkoffer

    Would like to purchase a copy of DVD blue ray if possible of The Barber of Seville with John Del Carlo March 19, 2011

  • J.M. Bell

    Miss E.Person, I have been searching for the same and got ONE lead from a questionable source in Australia,
    . I would love to hear if you had more luck,since I could not get an answer from the Metopera-shop.
    Thanks

  • Kathy Walton

    I just ordered it! Thank you for the link!

  • Mike Nelson

    This is an opera so good my KIDS love it! I cannot understand why they won’t release a DVD copy. They could make a killing on it!

  • Aurora

    Still no CD and DVD… I must say, it is so disappointing. After seeing this Barber, nothing, no other production can give me such thrill and emotion. Perfect staging, lights, voices, acting, overall performance, I could go on forever with the superlatives… This is the ultimate Barber of Seville. I just want to listen to/see it forever. We should keep on sending messages to Met Opera Shop requesting this on CD and DVD until they decide to release it.

  • Shelley Mitchell

    I contacted the Met and said I would love to buy the DVD — do they offer it? They said not currently, but thanked me for the request, and said they do take these requests under consideration. So everybody– swamp them with requests!!

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