Foreword: Beaumarchais’ trilogy of plays includes The Barber of Seville, the basis for Rossini’s opera. It is the story of a young nobleman, Almaviva, who wins his lover, Rosina, away from her lecherous guardian, Dr. Bartolo—but only with considerable help from his friend Figaro. In the sequel set several years later, Figaro, central character in all three plays, is up to new tricks in the employ of Count and Countess Almaviva. That play became Mozart’s opera,The Marriage of Figaro, performed one year ago by Rimrock Opera. The humorous irony of these stories turns on the shocking–talk of the town in pre-Revolution Paris–portrayal of servants manipulating and outwitting nobility.
Act I Dawn, Seville, Spain, 1600s
Scenes: Exterior & Living room of Dr. Bartolo’s Estate
Scene 1: Outside of Doctor Bartolo’s house, Lindoro, (Count Almaviva disguised as a poor student) has assembled a group of musicians to serenade the beautiful (and wealthy) Rosina, but she is kept in seclusion by her guardian, Dr. Bartolo. The Count’s former servant, Figaro, local barber, jack-of-all-trades, consultant and confidant to the aristocracy, appears. He agrees, for compensation, to help his old boss, the Count, get his girl. Figaro devises a plan to sneak the Count into the house as a drunken soldier ordered to stay there for shelter.
Act I – Scene 2: The much older Bartolo intends to marry his ward, Rosina, for her money. Rosina, who only knows the Count by the name Lindoro, writes him a love letter. When Bartolo arrives with Basilio, Rosina leaves. Bartolo suspects that the Count is in town to court Rosina. Basilio advises Bartolo that the Count needs to be removed. As they leave, Rosina and Figaro enter and Figaro asks her to write a letter to Lindoro. Rosina gives him the letter that she has already written.
Act I – Finale: The drunken soldier (the Count) arrives and Bartolo tries to kick him out. The Count is able to pass a love letter that he has written to Rosina. Hearing all of the commotion, the police burst in and Bartolo demands that they arrest the “drunken soldier.” The Count quietly reveals his identity–not only is he a nobleman, but also the commander of the Spanish military. The startled police officer immediately releases him.
Act II – Scene 1: Count Almaviva comes back to Bartolo’s house, this time disguised as Don Alonso, a music apprentice of Basilio’s who is there to substitute for Rosina’s music lesson. He explains to Bartolo that Basilio is very ill. The Count pretends to give Rosina a music lesson. Figaro is there to give Bartolo his daily shave. Figaro slips off to find the key to Bartolo’s balcony so that they can unlock it and sneak Rosina out in the middle of the night. Basilio unexpectedly shows up. Basilio is not really ill, but is convinced that he is, when the Count pays him off. As the Count (in disguise) and Rosina go over plans for her escape, Bartolo overhears them and drives everyone from the house. He vows to marry Rosina that evening and rushes to get a notary to draw up the marriage contract. Bartolo also convinces Rosina that Lindoro is just a failed servant of the Count’s, certainly not worthy of her.
Scene 2: Later that evening, the Count and Figaro sneak a ladder into Bartolo’s house. The Count shows Rosina his true identity and their love is reconciled. When Figaro sees people coming, the three try to escape out the window, but the ladder has been removed. Basilio arrives with a notary to marry Rosina and Bartolo. The Count bribes Basilio to order the notary to quickly perform his marriage to Rosina or receive two bullets in the head. When Bartolo arrives with the police, Rosina and Count Almaviva have already been married. The count consoles the doctor by granting him Rosina’s dowry. Our story ends in jubilant celebration of the new union – thanks to the cleverness and wit of our favorite Barber…Figaro.