The Barber of Seville

Gioacchino Rossini (1792 – 1868)

Information on the piece

Melodramma buffo in two acts
Libretto by Cesare Sterbini, based on a drama by Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais
First performed on 20. February, 1816 in Rome
Premiered at the Deutsche Oper Berlin on 29. November, 2009

Recommended from 12 years on

3 hrs / 1 interval

In Italian language with German and English surtitles

Pre-performance lecture (in German): 45 minutes prior to each performance

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About the performance

This turbulent tale has an aged curmudgeon intent on marrying his own ward in order to get his hands on her inheritance. He does everything he can to prevent the attractive Rosina from having contact with the outside world - and possible young lovers. Little does he know that Count Almaviva has long since fallen in love with her. By enlisting the help of the engaging, energetic barber Figaro his plan is not only to get the better of the old man and win Rosina over but also to ensure that the young woman loves him for his own sake and not for his title and fortune. No easy task for Figaro, who is pitted against a number of opponents. But in the end love conquers all and the precautions taken in the elaborate venture turn out to have been for nothing.

Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (1732 – 1799) invented the cunning, scheming barber and made him the central figure in a trilogy of comedies, the first two parts of which – LE BARBIER DE SEVILLE OU LA PRECAUTION INUTILE (1775) and LA FOLLE JOURNEE OU LE MARIAGE DE FIGARO (1778) - are now world famous. The third part of the trilogy, L’AUTRE TARTUFFE OU LA MERE COUPABLE, which appeared in 1792, did not enjoy the success of its predecessors, conceivably due to the turmoil of the French Revolution. Although the revolutionary potential of the work is best communicated by Mozart's brilliant score in the second part of the trilogy (DIE HOCHZEIT DES FIGARO,1786), the barber of the first part is likewise possessed of a lack of respect, making him predestined to head the cast of a comic opera. Giovanni Paisiello's music in the 1782 production of BARBIERE brought him wide acclaim and set a high standard for Rossini to follow as the latter went about reworking the material into a new comic opera. 34 years after Paisiello's success, Rossini pulled off what remains perhaps the wittiest and peppiest opera buffa in the history of opera.

“It was Rossini through and through, his music at its loveliest in BARBIER VON SEVILLA. Those who despise Italian music and hasten to openly revile it will one day receive their just punishment in hell, perhaps condemned to listen for eternity to Sebastian Bach's fugues.” (Heinrich Heine)

Our articles on the subject

Dr Takt on Rossini's “Il barbiere di Siviglia” / Overture measure 95
The night before the morning after

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06
DEC

Today in the foyer: "St. Nicholas is coming
17.00 h / Rank foyer on the right
Duration: approx. 25 minutes / free admission


The visit of Father Christmas is a cherished tradition at the Advent Calendar of the Deutsche Oper Berlin. This time we encourage our younger guests to get active themselves and share with us their favourite experiences from the past year. While enchanting music plays and Father Christmas is sure to have a sweet or two in his luggage, we invite you to take part in a small interactive activity. This year, our Father Christmas will be accompanied by the young Italian soprano Elisa Verzier.

In 2016 she made her debut at the Teatro Verdi di Trieste in Mendelssohn's EIN SOMMERNACHTSTRAUM and as Serpina in Paisiello's LA SERVA PADRONA. Her church music repertoire includes Mozart's "Coronation Mass", Handel's "Messiah", John Rutter's "Mass of the Children" and several pieces by Pergolesi, Schubert and Bach. Elisa Verzier has won numerous competitions. Her next engagements include Norina / DON PASQUALE in Trieste and La Contessa / LA SCUOLA DEI GELOSI in Turin. In the 2022/23 season she is engaged as a scholarship holder of the Förderkreis in the ensemble of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, where she will sing Pamina / DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE, Marzelline / FIDELIO, Frasquita / CARMEN, Musetta / LA BOHÈME and Zerlina / DON GIOVANNI, among others.