The Barber of Seville


The Barber of Seville

Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House

He's wealthy, stealthy and head over heels.
She’s witty, pretty and equally smitten.
She's also inconveniently betrothed.
They need a plan. They call for their man:




Enter Figaro, the friendly neighbourhood barber with wits and tricks as sharp as his razors. 

He sets to work to unite the young lovers in an evening of disguises and duplicity. 

This delightful rollicking comedy took a young Rossini just 13 days to write. Playful energy sparkles through as many famous tunes as you can pack into two-and-a-half hours. 

A cast of great voices and high spirits play among a marvellous set of cartoonish proportions — a world inspired by 1920s silent films.

International Rossini specialists join some of Opera Australia’s best comic talents and conductor Andrea Molino in this side-splitting romp through Seville.

Antipasto plate

Head up the stairs at the Joan Sutherland Theatre to enjoy the pop-up bar with an unbeatable view of the harbour, exclusive to ticket holders. The bar opens 90 minutes before evening performances and an hour before matinees. See the menu.

Conductor Andrea Molino (until 20 Feb)
Anthony Legge
Director Elijah Moshinsky
Revival Director Hugh Halliday
Set Designer Michael Yeargan
Costume Designer Dona Granata
Lighting Designer Howard Harrison
Figaro Paolo Bordogna (until 20 Feb)
Giorgio Caoduro
Rosina Anna Dowsley
Count Almaviva Kenneth Tarver (until 20 Feb)
Juan José de León
Dr. Bartolo Warwick Fyfe (until 20 Feb)
Andrew Moran
Don Basilio David Parkin
Berta Jane Ede
Officer James Olds
Fiorello / Ambrogio / Notary Samuel Dundas

Opera Australia Chorus

Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra

Running time: approximately 2 hours & 45 minutes, including one interval.

The StoryHide

Handsome Count Almaviva has fallen head over heels for the pretty Rosina, but wants to make sure she's into him, not his title.

He disguises himself as a poor student and serenades her. But he's getting nowhere, and if Rosina's guardian Bartolo has his way, no suitor will get anywhere near his ward.

Thwarted, he enlists the help of Figaro, a neighbourhood barber with plenty of tricks up his sleeve, and more importantly, access to Bartolo's household.

Will disguise and deception be enough to win the day for romance?

Act I

Scene i

Dr Bartolo, together with his ward, Rosina, were until recently resident in Madrid. While there, Rosina had attracted the attention of the adventurous young Count Almaviva, who, on their departure for Seville, has followed incognito, determined to woo and win her. Disguised as a student called Lindoro, he serenades her at night below her balcony, but is making very little progress when he meets, Figaro, a former servant of his who had left his employ to set up independently as a barber. Apart from his shop, Figaro also has a contract of service in Bartolo’s household, and the two men strike a deal whereby Figaro will get Almaviva into the house.

Scene ii

Rosina is very excited by the attentions being paid her by the handsome young stranger and dares write to him. She is so closely guarded by Bartolo, however, that the task of getting the letter delivered threatens to be difficult. Figaro would seem to be the answer. Bartolo is shrewdly aware that something is going on, but he can’t quite pin it down. Basilio, who is Rosina’s music teacher but also an intriguer in Bartolo’s service, warns him that Almaviva is in town and that he has designs on Rosina. Since Bartolo wishes to marry her himself, he determines to make the necessary arrangements at once.

Act II

Scene i

A complete stranger called Don Alonso arrives that evening to give Rosina her music lesson instead of Basilio, who is sick. Bartolo accepts him only when he reveals that he has a plan to trap Rosina and discredit Almaviva. When the lesson is under way, Figaro arrives and insists on giving Bartolo his Tuesday shave. Suddenly, Basilio walks in, quite healthy, but such is Bartolo’s confidence in Alonso that he collaborates in getting rid of Basilio. Unfortunately, Alonso, who is Almaviva in another disguise, overreaches himself and is caught out by Bartolo, but not before arranging to carry Rosina off at midnight.

There is a storm. Basilio goes for the Notary to marry Rosina and Bartolo at once; Bartolo goes for the police; Almaviva and Figaro bring a ladder.

Scene ii

Rosina remonstrates with Almaviva, but the confusion is quickly cleared up and the elopement all but takes place. Then Basilio arrives with the Notary, and Bartolo removes the ladder to the balcony. In the intervening few minutes the Notary marries Almaviva and Rosina and Basilio witnesses the contract. The young lovers are happy, Bartolo is defeated, while Figaro and Basilio make a lot of money. 

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