SFOpera - Synopsis


Time: Today
Setting: War Memorial Opera House

After over a year without performances, the cast arrives at the War Memorial Opera House to rehearse and prepare for that evening’s performance of The Barber of Seville. In the principal dressing rooms, the baritone gets into character by practicing the opera’s most famous aria, introducing Figaro, the factotum of Seville. Meanwhile in the dressing room next door, the tenor sings Count Almaviva’s serenade in which, disguised as an admirer “Lindoro,” the aristocrat hopes to woo Rosina. Next, the mezzo-soprano prepares the role of Rosina, the ward of Dr. Bartolo and who is confined in his house. Rosina yearns for freedom.

The cast is called to rehearse their staging. The baritone and tenor bring their duet to life while testing their props and social-distancing requirements. In this duet, Figaro suggests that Almaviva disguise himself as a drunken soldier in order to meet Rosina inside Bartolo’s house. The rehearsals continue with the Rosina and Figaro duet. Figaro reveals that the man Rosina has spotted from her balcony is Lindoro, who will secretly arrive to Bartolo’s house to speak with her.

The other mezzo-soprano, a Company and audience favorite, is ready to rehearse her aria when suddenly the tenor barges in, ready to practice the Act I finale. The rest of the cast joins in to review their staging for the finale. In this scene, Almaviva has arrived at Bartolo’s house, disguised as a drunken soldier in search of lodging. While arguing with Bartolo, Almaviva slips a love letter to Rosina. When Bartolo demands to see the letter, Rosina substitutes a laundry list. Figaro dashes in to warn that their hubbub has attracted the police. As an officer arrives about to arrest him, Almaviva reveals his identity as the Count and is released. Rosina, Berta, Bartolo, and Basilio are stupefied by everything that is happening.

While the cast takes a lunch break, the diva relegated to a basement dressing room revels in Berta’s aria, empowering her character to find love. In another basement dressing room, the bass sings Basilio’s aria, an homage to slander and how one small rumor can grow into a crashing tempest. Lastly, the bass-baritone portraying Bartolo practices his aria, railing against the attempts of Rosina to escape his clutches.

Later, the cast is called to rehearse portions of Act II where, disguised as Basilio’s music assistant, Almaviva aims to get closer to Rosina by tutoring her in singing. Figaro arrives to shave the doctor, but Basilio arrives, threatening to reveal Almaviva’s identity. Luckily, he feigns illness after being bribed by Almaviva and departs. Figaro proceeds to shave Bartolo while Almaviva and Rosina plan their elopement that night. Bartolo overhears that Almaviva has snuck into his house in disguise and drives Figaro and Almaviva from the house.

After the day of rehearsal, the cast gets into costume, excited to finally perform on the opera house stage. We join our cast as they perform the opera’s famous trio. Here Rosina, having just discovered Almaviva’s true identity, accepts his love. As the two lovers get to know one another, Figaro urges haste, as they must escape before Bartolo discovers they are to be wed. All the characters accept the situation and sing of love and loyalty. In conclusion, the cast celebrates a successful return to live performance.