Count Almaviva serenades Rosina, who lives in a house with her elderly guardian, Dr. Bartolo. Figaro the barber enters, boasting of his many talents, and recognizes the Count. Almaviva offers Figaro a reward if he can arrange a meeting between himself and Rosina. Almaviva—pretending to be a poor student named Lindoro—sings another melody, telling Rosina he has no wealth and can offer only love. Figaro suggests to Almaviva that he should disguise himself as a soldier to gain entry into Bartolo’s home.
Inside Bartolo’s home, Rosina, determined to be united with her suitor, has written a love letter to “Lindoro.” Figaro enters and conceals himself when Bartolo enters with his accomplice, the singing teacher Don Basilio. Basilio warns him of Almaviva’s intentions towards Rosina and Bartolo replies the he himself wants to marry his ward and gain her dowry. Figaro approaches to tell Rosina that Lindoro is in love with her, and that he will arrange a meeting between them. When Figaro departs, Bartolo accuses Rosina of trying to deceive him. Almaviva enters, disguised as a drunken soldier, and gives Rosina a note. Bartolo demands to see it, and Rosina hands him last week’s laundry list instead. Bartolo angrily protests at the presence of a drunken soldier and a platoon of troops arrives to arrest Almaviva. However, when Almaviva secretly reveals his true name and title to the officer in charge, he is immediately released.
Inside Bartolo’s home, Almaviva appears in the disguise of a music teacher, substituting for the supposedly ill Basilio. The suspicious Bartolo refuses to leave the room during the singing lesson, but Almaviva and Rosina succeed in exchanging words of endearment. When Basilio arrives in fine health, he is bribed by Almaviva to leave. While Figaro is shaving Bartolo, the lovers plan their elopement. They are, however, overheard by Bartolo, who is furious at their deception. He throws Figaro and Almaviva out of his home, and sends for a notary so he can marry Rosina without delay.
In the evening, Almaviva and Figaro return to Bartolo’s home. Almaviva sneaks inside and reveals his true identity to the astonished Rosina. The notary summoned by Bartolo arrives with a marriage contract and, at Figaro’s instruction, enters Almaviva’s name on the contract in place of Bartolo’s. Bartolo enters to find Rosina and Almaviva married, but is consoled when Almaviva allows him to keep her dowry.
A scene from the Canadian Opera Company production of The Barber of Seville, 2015. Photo: Michael Cooper
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