Italian Opera Class 3

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Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville)

Composer- Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868)

Libretto– Cesare Sterbini

Premiere- Rome, 1816

Setting– Seville, 18th Century

Principal Characters- Figaro, Count Almaviva, Rosina, Dr. Bartolo, Don Basilio


The pretty Rosina is the ward of old Dr. Bartolo, who plans to marry her. To win Rosina for himself, rich Count Almaviva enlists the help of figaro, barber and factotum of all Seville. Many pranks and much confusion ensue. Almaviva disguises himself first as a drunken soldier with orders to quarter himself in Bartolo’s house, next as a young music master to replace Don Basilio, each time winning short tete-a-tetes with his beloved. His schemes always masterminded by Figaro, Almaviva finally succeeds in employing the very notary summoned by Bartolo for his own use to perform the marriage ceremony.

Video Highlights on YouTube- 

Production- La Scala Opera (1977), conductor-Claudio Abbado/director-Jean-Pierre Ponnelle

Cast includes- Hermann Prey (Figaro), Luigi Alva (Count Almaviva), Teresa Berganza (Rosina), 

Enzo Dara (Dr. Bartolo), Paolo Montarsolo (Don Basilio)  

ACT 1 

[10:50-14:53] cavatina” Ecco, ridente in cielo” (Almaviva)

[18:20-22:55] cavatina “Largo al factotum” (Figaro)

[42:10-47:09] cavatina “Una voce poco fa” (Rosina)

[52:15-56:40] aria “la Calumnia” (Don Basilio)

[1:06:40-1:12:42] aria “A un dottore mia sorte” (Dr. Bartolo)


[1:50:25-1:56:25] ensemble


Bel Canto

Commedia dell’Arte:


Zanni (servants)- Arlecchino , Columbina & Brighella (Figaro)

Il Dottore (Don Basilio)

Pantalone (Dr. Bartolo)

Inamorati (Almaviva & Rosina)

Coloratura Soprano

Aria di Bravura

 Other Notable Opera Bel Canto Era Composers:

Vincenzo Bellini

Luigi Cherubini

Servio Mercadante

Gaspare Spontini


Lucia di Lammermoor

Composer- Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848)

Libretto- Salvatore Cammarano

Premiere- Naples (1835)

Setting-Scotland, end of the 17th century

Principal Characters- Lucia (coloratura soprano), Edgardo (lyric tenor), Enrico Ashton (baritone), 

Raimondo Bidebent (basso cantante)


Although their families are locked in a feud, Lucia of Lammermoor and Edgardo of Ravenswood exchange vows of love before he leaves Scotland on a diplomatic mission Lucia’s brother Enrico, using a forged letter, persuades her that her lover is untrue; she agrees to marry Enrico’s friend Arturo Bucklaw. The wedding is interrupted by the return of Edgardo, who, believing himself betrayed, flings the ring Lucia had given him at her feet and cursed her. Her mind broken by her unhappiness, Lucía kills Arturo in the marriage chamber, then horrifies the lingering guests by a display of madness. At the cemetery of his family, Edgardo is informed of Lucia’s tragic end, and stabs himself.

Video Highlights on YouTube-

Production- Metropolitan Opera (2009 or 2010), conductor-Marco Armiliato/director-Mary Zimmerman

Cast includes- Anna Netrebko (Lucia) [Natalie Dessay in Act 3 Mad scene], Piotr Beczala (Edgardo),

Mariusz Kwiecien (Enrico), Ildar Abrazakov (Raimondo)


       Mix-Opera lyrics-Netrebko-“Chi mi frena” (sextet) (Lucia di Lammermoor) [3:49]

 (Follow instructions for english subtitles!)


Lucia di Lammermoor-Mad scene- Part 2-English Subs-Natalie Dessay [8:00]

Piotr Beczala Lucia di Lammermoor finale Edgardo “Tu che a Dio spiegasti l’ali” [4:07]