As with Bizet’s Carmen last season, it has been a pleasure to be part of Rossini’s Italian opera The Barber Of Seville with Tessitoura last month. With a plot also set in Spain, this opera buffa is one of the greatest masterpieces of comedy within music.
This opera was based on the comedy Le Barbier de Séville, by the French author Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais. It was premiered in 1816 in Rome, first performed under the title of Almaviva. Rossini had called his opera by this name as the Italian composer Giovanni Paisiello had already written his own Barber of Seville in 1782. It was Paisiello – Rossini’s main rival – who actually biased the audience opinion in the premiere, who were highly critical of this opera. Obviously these days only one of the two shows to have stood the test of time.
Rossini’s successor Verdi loved the Barber, he wrote “For abundance of ideas, comic verve, and truth of declamation, I cannot help believing that it is the most beautiful opera buffa in existence.”
Opere buffe is the Italian term for comic opera, which by definition is an opera that contains spoken dialogue and arias. Buffa also used to imply everyday settings, local dialect and simple vocal writing.
I must say our singers did a very good job, bringing out the most of their roles. It is very difficult to sing those patter songs, where each syllable of text corresponds to one note in the music. This kind of music tends to be very fast, so great job everyone!