The Barber of Seville
Performed in the original Italian with Czech surtitles
The most famous barber of all time, whose cunning and wit were as sharp as a razor! Wonderful comedy, elegant melodies and a clever plot make The Barber of Seville an opera which has attracted audiences of all generations for nearly two centuries. A charming spectacle written by Italian artists in the style of comedie dell’arte.
In 1815 Rossini received a visit from Duke Francesco Sforza-Cesarini, impresario of the famous Roman theatre di Torre Argentina. The composer undertook to write the music to the libretto that the duke had given him and a month later hand over the completed score. It was a requirement that the topic be approved by the censor, which proved to be rather difficult. All the submitted librettos were rejected – until The Barber of Seville. Rossini was not overjoyed by this, as there already existed a Barber of Seville, by the recognised doyen Giovanni Paisiello. Rossini well knew that the old maestro and his opera had numerous supporters, which could make things difficult for the presentation of the new work. He wrote Paisiello a polite letter, in which he humbly explained why he had dared to compose an opera on the same theme. Paisiello replied that he warmly welcomed the idea: he quietly assumed that the opera would be a failure. He was not mistaken. At the premiere in 1816 the opera really did end up as a fiasco. That evening however none of the audience realised that they were booing one of the most famous and popular operas of the future… For Brno audiences the mainly Italian production team produced a charming spectacle in the style of the commedia dell’arte.
Janáček Opera Ensemble and Orchestra of the National Theatre Brno
Premiere on 7th December 2007