Opera Scotland

Barber of Seville Il barbiere di Siviglia

Tours by decade

1820s - 2 tours

1824 - Edinburgh Theatre Royal Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1827 - De Begnis Italian Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1830s - 1 tour

1832 - De Begnis Italian Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1840s - 1 tour

1849 - Italian Operatic Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1850s - 1 tour

1853 - Mr Wood's Edinburgh Italian Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1860s - 3 tours

1860 - Mr Wood's Edinburgh Italian Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1867 - Madame Lancia's Grand English Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1869 - Corri's Grand English Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1870s - 1 tour

1870 - Corri's Grand English Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1910s - 1 tour

1910 - Castellano Grand Italian Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1920s - 6 tours

1926 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1927 - British National Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1927 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1928 - British National Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1928 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1929 - Covent Garden Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1930s - 6 tours

1930 - Covent Garden Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1934 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1935 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1937 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1938 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1939 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1940s - 9 tours

1940 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1942 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1942 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1943 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1944 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1944 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1945 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1948 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1949 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1950s - 11 tours

1950 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1951 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1952 - Iskoldoff Italian Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1952 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1954 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1955 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1955 - Glyndebourne Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1956 - Iskoldoff Italian Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1956 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1957 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1958 - Touring Opera 58
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1960s - 7 tours

1960 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1961 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1961 - Covent Garden Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1966 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1967 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1968 - Scottish Opera
Fully staged, piano accompaniment
1969 - Tayside Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1970s - 4 tours

1971 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1972 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1974 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1975 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1980s - 4 tours

1980 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1981 - Cologne Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1985 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1987 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1990s - 2 tours

1991 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1997 - Scottish Opera
Fully staged, piano accompaniment

2000s - 1 tour

2007 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

2010s - 7 tours

2011 - Swansea City Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
2011 - Scottish Opera
Opera Unwrapped
2011 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
2012 - Opera Project
Fully Staged with Orchestra
2012 - English Touring Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
2014 - Magnetic Opera
Fully staged, piano accompaniment
2018 - Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris
Fully Staged with Orchestra

Tours by location

Scotland, UK - 150 entries

1824 - Edinburgh Theatre Royal Company
Edinburgh
1827 - De Begnis Italian Opera Company
Edinburgh
1832 - De Begnis Italian Opera Company
Edinburgh
1849 - Italian Operatic Company
Edinburgh
1853 - Mr Wood's Edinburgh Italian Opera
Edinburgh
1860 - Mr Wood's Edinburgh Italian Opera
Dundee
1867 - Madame Lancia's Grand English Opera Company
Glasgow
1869 - Corri's Grand English Opera Company
Aberdeen
1869 - Corri's Grand English Opera Company
Dundee
1869 - Corri's Grand English Opera Company
Arbroath
1869 - Corri's Grand English Opera Company
Kilmarnock
1870 - Corri's Grand English Opera Company
Dundee
1910 - Castellano Grand Italian Opera
Aberdeen
1910 - Castellano Grand Italian Opera
Dundee
1926 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1926 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1926 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Dundee
1927 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1927 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1927 - British National Opera Company
Glasgow
1927 - British National Opera Company
Edinburgh
1927 - British National Opera Company
Aberdeen
1927 - British National Opera Company
Dundee
1928 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1928 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1928 - British National Opera Company
Edinburgh
1929 - Covent Garden Opera
Aberdeen
1930 - Covent Garden Opera
Edinburgh
1934 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1934 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Aberdeen
1934 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1935 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1937 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1938 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1939 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1939 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1940 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1940 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1942 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1942 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1942 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Glasgow
1942 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Edinburgh
1943 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1943 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1944 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1944 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1944 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Glasgow
1944 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Edinburgh
1945 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1948 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1948 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1949 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1949 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Aberdeen
1949 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1950 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1950 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1951 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1951 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Aberdeen
1952 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Aberdeen
1952 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1952 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1952 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Greenock
1952 - Iskoldoff Italian Opera Company
Glasgow
1954 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1955 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1955 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Dundee
1955 - Glyndebourne Opera
Edinburgh
1956 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1956 - Iskoldoff Italian Opera Company
Glasgow
1956 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Dundee
1956 - Iskoldoff Italian Opera Company
Edinburgh
1957 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1958 - Touring Opera 58
Glasgow
1958 - Touring Opera 58
Aberdeen
1960 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Glasgow
1960 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Dundee
1961 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Glasgow
1961 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Edinburgh
1961 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Dundee
1961 - Covent Garden Opera
Edinburgh
1966 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Glasgow
1967 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Glasgow
1969 - Tayside Opera
Dundee
1971 - Scottish Opera
Stirling
1971 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
1971 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
1972 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
1972 - Scottish Opera
Aberdeen
1972 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
1974 - Scottish Opera
Stirling
1974 - Scottish Opera
Ayr
1975 - Scottish Opera
Kirkcaldy
1975 - Scottish Opera
Kelso
1975 - Scottish Opera
Elgin, Moray
1975 - Scottish Opera
Oban, Argyll
1975 - Scottish Opera
Greenock
1975 - Scottish Opera
Dundee
1975 - Scottish Opera
St Andrews
1975 - Scottish Opera
Perth
1975 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
1980 - Scottish Opera
Stirling
1980 - Scottish Opera
Dundee
1981 - Cologne Opera
Edinburgh
1985 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
1985 - Scottish Opera
Aberdeen
1985 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
1987 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
1987 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
1991 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
1991 - Scottish Opera
Inverness
1991 - Scottish Opera
Aberdeen
1991 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
1997 - Scottish Opera
Dundee
1997 - Scottish Opera
Paisley
1997 - Scottish Opera
Cromarty
1997 - Scottish Opera
Poolewe
1997 - Scottish Opera
Dornoch
1997 - Scottish Opera
Ellon, Aberdeenshire
1997 - Scottish Opera
Elgin, Moray
1997 - Scottish Opera
Lochcarron, Ross-shire
1997 - Scottish Opera
Kirkwall, Orkney
1997 - Scottish Opera
Thurso, Caithness
1997 - Scottish Opera
Ballachulish, Argyll
1997 - Scottish Opera
Arran
1997 - Scottish Opera
St Andrews
1997 - Scottish Opera
Dumfries
1997 - Scottish Opera
Helensburgh
1997 - Scottish Opera
Ayr
1997 - Scottish Opera
Banchory, Kincardineshire
1997 - Scottish Opera
Linlithgow
1997 - Scottish Opera
Biggar
1997 - Scottish Opera
Motherwell
1997 - Scottish Opera
Aboyne, Aberdeenshire
2007 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
2007 - Scottish Opera
Aberdeen
2007 - Scottish Opera
Inverness
2007 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
2011 - Swansea City Opera
Pitlochry
2011 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
2011 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
2011 - Scottish Opera
Inverness
2011 - Scottish Opera
Inverness
2011 - Scottish Opera
Aberdeen
2011 - Scottish Opera
Aberdeen
2011 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
2011 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
2012 - English Touring Opera
Perth
2012 - Opera Project
Culross, near Dunfermline
2014 - Magnetic Opera
Edinburgh
2018 - Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris
Edinburgh

England, UK - 12 entries

1926 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Manchester
1971 - Scottish Opera
Newcastle-upon-Tyne
1972 - Scottish Opera
Leeds
1972 - Scottish Opera
Liverpool
1972 - Scottish Opera
Newcastle-upon-Tyne
1975 - Scottish Opera
Barrow-in-Furness
1975 - Scottish Opera
Darlington
1975 - Scottish Opera
Sheffield
1975 - Scottish Opera
York
1985 - Scottish Opera
Newcastle-upon-Tyne
1987 - Scottish Opera
Newcastle-upon-Tyne
1991 - Scottish Opera
Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Northern Ireland, UK - 2 entries

Music
Gioachino Rossini (born Pesaro, 29 February 1792; died Paris, 13 November 1868)

Text
Cesare Sterbini

Source
Play Le barbier de Séville 1775) by Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (1732-99)

Premières
First performance: Rome (Teatro Argentina), 20 February 1816.
First UK performance: London (King’s Theatre, Haymarket), 10 March 1818.
First performance in Scotland: Edinburgh (Theatre Royal), 10 March 1820
Scottish Opera première: Edinburgh (Royal Lyceum Theatre), 26 July 1971.

Background
The Barber was initially launched under a different title (Almaviva, o sia l'inutile precauzione), because there was already a successful opera based on the same play. However Rossini’s version soon gained a level of success that relegated Paisiello’s to the near oblivion from which it only occasionally emerges. While the opera did remain continuously popular for a period now approaching two hundred years, it was nevertheless the victim of alterations in taste that resulted in the musical text being subjected to a range of changes, cuts and transpositions. The role of Rosina, created for a coloratura contralto, soon became a role popular with light, high sopranos. The music lesson in the second act, for which Rossini composed perfectly acceptable music, was usurped by sopranos desirous of displaying their talents in pieces by other composers. The orchestration was often changed with the addition of brass and percussion giving the whole sound extra weight which unbalanced the entire composition. The acting style was generally reduced from elegant, stylish comedy to crude slapstick. Gradually any coherent sense of Rossinian style was lost. One of the great pleasures of opera-going in recent years has been the discovery of the full range of Rossini’s output and the reassurance that The Barber, when played and sung in a suitably stylish fashion, is an even better comic opera than it was always thought to be.

Characters
Count Almaviva (tenor)
Figaro, a barber (baritone)
Bartolo, Rosina’s guardian (bass-baritone)
Rosina, Bartolo’s ward (mezzo-soprano)
Don Basilio, a music teacher (bass)
Berta, Bartolo’s servant (soprano)
Fiorello, the Count’s servant (baritone)

Plot Summary
Young, wealthy Count Almaviva is visiting Seville and has fallen for Rosina, a wealthy young woman kept in confinement by her guardian, Bartolo, who wants to marry her himself. Rosina is aware of Almaviva and is attracted to him, but believes him to be a student named Lindoro. The plot concerns the efforts of these two, assisted by Figaro, whose trusted position as barber gives him entry to most of the houses in the town, to outwit Bartolo and persuade him to accept the marriage of Rosina to Almaviva. This involves the count in two disguises, first as drunken soldier, then as music teacher (a cover for the “indisposed” Basilio). The comedy devices continue: a shaving scene to distract Bartolo; a mistimed arrival by the completely hale and hearty Basilio, who needs to be persuaded to leave again; a chronically delayed departure for the lovers; a well-timed rainstorm. Naturally all works out at last, and there is no hint of the difficulties the characters are to endure in the next instalment, so wonderfully handled by Mozart.

RECORDINGS

DECCA (3 CDs) Sung in Italian Recorded 1988

Conductor: Giuseppe Patanè
Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra
Cecilia Bartoli (Rosina), William Matteuzzi (Almaviva), Leo Nucci (Figaro).

It is difficult to believe that it is more than twenty years since an extremely young Cecilia Bartoli was launched on to the operatic world. This was her first complete opera recording, and it is good to know that it has worn well and still sounds like one of the leaders in the field. Bartoli herself sings with great character and plenty of attention to detail. William Matteuzzi is perhaps the sweetest voiced Rossini tenor of recent years. Leo Nucci’s Figaro and Paata Burchuladze’s Basilio are perhaps less subtle than the ideal performers, but Enrico Fissore is excellent as Bartolo. The small role of Fiorello is well taken by Michele Pertusi, who has since then recorded several of the leading buffo roles.

 

EMI (3 CDs) Sung in Italian Recorded 1962

Conductor: Vittorio Gui
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Victoria de los Angeles (Rosina), Luigi Alva (Almaviva), Sesto Bruscantini (Figaro).

This classic set, originating from performances at Glyndebourne, can comfortably stand as the best representative from the period before Rossini became the subject of extensive research into original performance practice. Good as the singers are, it would not sustain its continued supremacy were it not for the conducting of the great Vittorio Gui. He was distinctly a veteran by this time, but that is undetectable, such is the lightness of touch and perfect stylishness of his Rossini performance. Victoria de los Angeles is a gentler, perhaps more refined Rosina than most – already almost the believable countess – and Alva and Bruscantini were the classic interpreters of their roles. Ian Wallace is a delightfully three-dimensional Bartolo, and contrasts well with Carlo Cava as Basilio.

 

NAXOS (3 Bargain-price CDs) Sung in Italian Recorded 1992

Conductor: Will Humburg
Faloni Chamber Orchestra
Sonia Ganassi (Rosina), Ramon Vargas (Almaviva), Roberto Servile (Figaro).

This recording is a remarkable bargain from Hungarian forces supporting an international cast that would be difficult and expensive to assemble for a performance today. The three lead performers are now more likely to be heard singing heavier Italian repertoire, but in 1992 they were near ideal interpreters of Rossini’s classic comedy. The other roles are just as good, with Roberto de Candia as Basilio and Angelo Romero as Bartolo. Will Humburg leads a performance that is as good as anything on the market.

The Cast

Alcalde
 Mayor
Ambrogio
 Bartolo's servant
Bartolo
 a doctor, Rosina's guardian
Berta
 Bartolo's housekeeper
Count Almaviva
 
Don Basilio
 a singing teacher
Figaro
 a barber
Fiorello
 servant of the Count
Notary
 
Officer
 
Rosina
 Bartolo's ward
Servant
 to Dr Bartolo

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