The Barber of Seville – For Families

Stephanie Blythe & Friends|The Barber of Seville

The Atlanta Opera Studio Tour presents four special performances of The Barber of Seville featuring opera’s most famous barber, Figaro, who plays the role of translator as Rossini’s witty, sparkling score takes center stage. Perfect for the whole family, this new 45-minute adaptation is performed in Spanish and English and demonstrates the power of love to triumph over adversity of every kind.

Approximate run time: 45 minutes with no intermission

Performed in Spanish and English

Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center at City Springs

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Get the Feeling

Listen to The Barber of Seville

Photos: First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta Staff / Baldwin Elementary School Staff

Synopsis

Alta California, 1830.

Rosina has moved to Alta California to live with her wealthy Aunt Bartolo. As the opera begins, Rosina has just arrived in town from Spain and she and Aunt Bartolo are seen on the street outside Aunt Bartolo’s house. Rosina and a handsome young man (Almaviva) spy each other and are instantly smitten with one another. While Aunt Bartolo stops to adjust her shoe, Rosina tries to communicate with Almaviva to no avail. Aunt Bartolo whisks Rosina into the house. A few moments later, Rosina appears with a note, which she unsuccessfully tries to pass to Almaviva. Aunt Bartolo is suspicious and intervenes, ordering Rosina back into the house. Frustrated, Almaviva leaves, not noticing his old friend and confidant, Figaro, who has seen everything.

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Figaro introduces himself, declaring that he is so much more than a barber! He knows everything, sees everything, and can solve any problem—that is why he is in such demand. Almaviva is a wealthy ranchero who wants for nothing, and explains that he is in love with Rosina—but Figaro already knows. As they are talking, Rosina appears in the window of the house and waves a note, which she quickly drops to the ground, just as Aunt Bartolo begins to question her about what she is doing. She denies ever having a note, but she hurries off downstairs to find out what fluttered out the window. Almaviva has already scooped it up, before Aunt Bartolo arrives. Aunt Bartolo, assuming that the wind blew it away, shrugs and disappears back into the house.

Almaviva is overjoyed to receive Rosina’s note, until he discovers that it is entirely in Spanish. Rosina, you see, speaks only Spanish, as she recently moved from Spain. But Almaviva, the son of a Mexican ranchero was born in Alta California, and his Spanish is very limited. Figaro, brilliant and bilingual, translates the note in which she professes her affection for Almaviva, but reveals that her Aunt Bartolo wants to marry her off to the nephew of one her rich friends. Incredibly moved, Almaviva serenades Rosina from the street.

Figaro pledges to help Almaviva win the girl of his heart (for a price!), and the two quickly come up with a plan to get Almaviva inside the house to speak with Rosina in person. They will disguise Almaviva as a soldier who has been ordered to stand guard at Aunt Bartolo’s house.

Meanwhile, Rosina asserts her independence and swears that she will get the better of Aunt Bartolo. Figaro arrives to do Rosina’s hair and tells her that the young man under her window is his friend, Lindoro Almaviva, who is very much in love with her. Almaviva arrives disguised as a soldier and bangs loudly at the door. Aunt Bartolo at first refuses him entry, but overwhelmed by his bluster, eventually is brushed aside. Rosina is startled (and delighted) to see him.

The situation becomes even more confusing as Aunt Bartolo enters. Frustrated and irritated, Aunt Bartolo finally shoos Figaro and the supposed soldier towards the door, but the “soldier” is really Rosina in disguise. Almaviva has changed costumes and appears now as Rosina’s music teacher, much to Aunt Bartolo’s confusion! Almaviva, in the role of music teacher, then gives a voice lesson to Rosina during which they flirt, while Aunt Bartolo dozes off.

Figaro enters to give Aunt Bartolo her haircut. As he does so, the lovers plot their escape. Aunt Bartolo overhears them and decides that she must marry Rosina off immediately. When she goes off for the marriage license, Figaro and Almaviva arrive with a ladder to spirit Rosina away. They climb in through the window. Aunt Bartolo returns for a moment, sees the ladder and takes it away, before hurrying off for the license. Meanwhile, Rosina seems upset when she sees Almaviva and accuses him of being a ladies’ man, which her Aunt Bartolo told her. Almaviva protests his innocence and proves his devotion. As the three are about to make good on their escape they notice that the ladder is gone. Aunt Bartolo returns with the license. The intended groom has not arrived and neither has the notary to witness the wedding. Figaro volunteers, and with some clever sleight of hand manages to marry Almaviva and Rosina, and convince Aunt Bartolo that all is well. They all live happily ever after.

Used with the permission of Portland Opera Curriculum written and collected and adapted by Alexis Hamilton, Education & Outreach Manager for Portland Opera.

Characters & Cast

Almaviva

A rich and handsome young ranchero smitten with Rosina.

James Arthur Douglas

Georgia native James Arthur Douglas is a graduate of Furman University and was recently named one of five finalists in The Pro Mozart Society Scholarship Competition.

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Figaro

The town barber who always manages to be in the middle of everyone’s plans and schemes.

Samuel Ferreira

Baritone Samuel Ferreira makes his Atlanta Opera debut as Figaro. He recently received a MA in Voice Performance from Georgia State University.

Aunt Bartolo

Rosina’s guardian; an old Widow who hopes to make a fortune by forcing Rosina to marry the nephew of one her rich friends.

Jessica Wax

Mezzo-soprano Jessica Wax is a graduate of Louisiana State University and a frequent performer with The Atlanta Opera, including The Atlanta Opera Chorus.

Rosina

Young and beautiful, the cunning Rosina is in love with Almaviva, but is not aware of his true identity.

Brandi Diggs

Soprano Brandi Diggs is a versatile vocalist who sings operatic and solo repertoire throughout the United States and recently appeared as a soloist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and as a recitalist at the Kennedy Center.

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Newbie Guide

Start With the Story

In simple terms, an opera is a story set to music. Before the performance, review the plot synopsis of The Barber of Seville. Ask children to consider the story, characters, and setting of the opera.

  • What is the opera about?
  • What is the time period?
  • Who are the main characters?
  • What struggles do the characters face?
  • What are their relationships to each other?
  • What do you expect to see and hear at the opera?

History of Alta California

Alta California (Upper California), or later, “Neuva California” has a rich history. Alta California originated as a province of New Spain and then, after the Mexican War of Independence came under Mexican rule.

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By 1804, thee had been such an influx of Spanish people in Alta California that the Province of Las Californias (which included both Alta and Baja Californias) was divided in two to make administration easier. The northern part became “Alta California” or “Neuva California.” One can easily imagine that Rosina from The Barber of Seville immigrated to Alta California from her home in Seville, Spain.

During the Mexican period, more and more white immigrants from both the United States and Europe were pushing into the territory. (Almaviva’s family is an example of this. Even though Almaviva grew up in Alta California, and his extended family may have some Mexican roots, he is Anglo and doesn’t speak Spanish well.)

American settlers and Californios began to intermarry and the lines between the Spanish, Mexican, and European American peoples began to blur significantly. Spanish and Mexican influence continues to run strong in the Southwestern United States throughout the early 20th century, and Mexican influence continues to contribute to the culture and history of the United States today.

Used with permission of Portland Opera Curriculum

Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center at City Springs

1 Galambos Way
Sandy Springs, GA 30328

Directions

City Springs is located on the west side of Roswell Road between Johnson Ferry Road (north) and Mount Vernon Highway (south).

From I-285 eastbound – Take Exit 25 (Roswell Road) and turn left.
From I-285 westbound – Take Exit 25 (Roswell Road) and turn right.

Travel on Roswell Road for just under one mile and City Springs will be on your left. To access the parking garage, turn left on Mount Vernon Highway and take the first right on Galambos Way. The parking garage entrance will be on your right.

Parking

Ample parking is available with approximately 1,125 parking spaces on site, with 750 of those in an underground parking garage.

From Roswell Road, turn west onto Mount Vernon Highway and take an immediate right on to Galambos Way. The east parking garage entrance/exit will be on your right. There is an alternative entrance/exit on the west side of the garage located under the southern Aston apartment building on Galambos Way.

Parking Rates

Parking in the garage is free for the first 2 hours.

Parking in any of the surface street spaces are metered at a rate of $1/30 min, $2/1 hour, $4/90 mins.

For special events, garage parking is $5 and valet parking is $15 unless otherwise noted.

Public Transportation

From MARTA Sandy Springs station – Bus route 87 stops at City Springs.
From MARTA Dunwoody station – Bus routes 5 and 87 stop at City Springs.

Plan Your Trip!

Food & Drink

Please visit the City Springs website for dining recommendations.

Composer

Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868)

The composer of The Barber of Seville was born in Pesaro, Italy, on February 29, 1792 (a leap year). For a time his parents earned a living traveling from one small opera house to another-his mother as a singer and his father as a horn player in the orchestra. He was occasionally left behind with his grandmother and his aunt in Pesaro, and he had only a little education in reading, writing, grammar and arithmetic. Much of the time he ran wild.

When Gioachino was 12, his parents ended their travels and settled in Bologna. The boy studied music with a talented priest. He also began to play the violin and viola and to compose sonatas and other pieces. Because of his beautiful singing voice, he was often invited to sing in churches in Bologna, and he was soon able to earn extra money playing harpsichord for opera companies in and around Bologna.

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At 14, he began more formal music studies at the Conservatory. Although he rebelled against the strict textbook rules for music, he was a good student and even received a gold medal. At the end of his first year, he was chosen to write a cantata that was performed in public. Unfortunately, he had to leave the Conservatory after four years in order to earn money for his family. All his life he was to regret the fact that he did not receive more musical training.

SUCCESS
Rossini’s first paid composition was a one-act comic opera for a theatre in Venice. The Marriage Contract, written in less than a week, earned him one hundred dollars – an enormous sum for the 19-year-old Gioachino! The opera was a success, and he kept writing. His first major success came in 1812 with The Touchtone, which used musical pieces from his earlier opera. This comic opera was performed over 50 times in its first season alone. As a result of its success, he was paid to write three more operas for Venice. Speed was one of Rossini’s most notable characteristics as a composer – he had actually written five operas in that one year! Rossini’s first serious opera, Tancredi (its overture borrowed from The Touchtone) opened in Venice in 1813, and became popular throughout Italy, Europe, and North and South America. With his comic opera The Italian Girl in Algiers, the 21 year-old Rossini became the hit of Venice. Emperor Aurelian in Palmyra, and The Turk in Italy followed.

Rossini gave his name to many recipes, including a very famous dish called Tournedos Rossini. Great chefs dedicated dishes to him, such as Poached
Eggs alia Rossini, Chicken alia Rossini, and Filet of Sole alia Rossini. A dessert dedicated to William Tell was a tart served on the opera’s 1829 Paris opening night. Of course, it was an apple tart decorated with an apple pierced by a sugar arrow alongside a
sugar crossbow.

Active in social and cultural affairs, Rossini remained in his later years as a Viennese newspaper had earlier described him as, “Highly accomplished, of agreeable manner and pleasant appearance, full of wit and fun, cheerful, obliges, courteous, and most accessible. He is much in society, and charms everyone by his simple unassuming style.” Thus we can see that Rossini was a person not unlike Figaro himself: resourceful, quick-witted, and friendly to all. By this time, of course, Rossini was enjoying the wealth he had earned by all his industry; portraits show him as plump, with a simple, kindly face, and a humorous twinkle in his eyes, looking rather like a prosperous businessman in his Sunday suit and wig!

A GREAT LOSS
After a final illness, Rossini died in his summer home in Passy, outside Paris, on November 13, 1868. He was buried in Paris at a magnificent funeral attended by many admirers and dignitaries. Later, at the request of the Italian government, his body was moved to the Church of Santa Croce in Florence. After providing for his wife, he left most of his wealth to start a conservatory of music at Pesaro, his birthplace in Italy.

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Production Director & Adaptation

Kristine McIntyre

Stage director Kristine McIntyre has directed more than 90 operas across the U.S. with a focus on new, contemporary, and American works. Productions include Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s Moby Dick (Utah Opera, Pittsburgh Opera); Dead Man Walking (Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Des Moines Metro Opera, Madison Opera); the world premiers of Louis Karchin’s Jane Eyre (Center for Contemporary Opera, New York) and Mark Lanz Weiser and Amy Punt’s The Place Where You Started (Art Share, LA); new productions of Billy Budd (regional Emmy award) and Peter Grimes as well as As One (Kaminsky / Campbell / Reed), Glory Denied and Soldier Songs (Des Moines Metro Opera) Jonathan Dove’s Flight (Pittsburgh Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Austin Opera), Jake Heggie’s The End of the Affair (Lyric Opera of Kansas City) and Three Decembers (Des Moines Metro Opera); Florencia en el Amazonas (Madison Opera),  Elmer Gantry (Tulsa Opera), Of Mice and Men (Utah Opera, Austin Opera, Tulsa Opera), the world premier of Kirke Mechem’s John Brown (Lyric Opera of Kansas City); new productions of Street Scene, The Tender Land (Michigan Opera Theater) and Lee Hoiby’s Bon Appétit; a staged concert version of Vanessa (Toledo Opera) and the world premier of The Canticle of the Black Madonna (Newmark Theater, Portland).

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Pianist

Taylor Burkhardt

Taylor Burkhardt collaborates with a number of vocalists and instrumentalists as a duo partner, chamber musician, rehearsal pianist, and coach. In the 2019-20 season, she will be the Resident Artist Pianist at Utah Opera in Salt Lake City, UT. In the 2018-19 season, she has primarily worked at Kentucky Opera, Virginia Opera, and the Atlanta Opera, where she has played and coached several mainstage and outreach productions. In May she will serve as faculty at Druid City Opera Workshop in Tuscaloosa. Productions she has worked on and coached this season include Die Zauberflöte; Ben Moore’s Enemies, A Love Story; Rigoletto; a touring production of Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors; Madama Butterfly, and The Atlanta Opera Studio Tour production of The Barber of Seville. Past engagements include Carmen at Mill City Summer Opera, L’elisir d’amore at Music Academy of the West, and La Cenerentola at Bay View Music Festival. Recent productions she has rehearsed/coached at the University of Minnesota include ​La voix humaine, Orphée aux enfers, Idomeneo, The Rape of Lucretia, and Gianni Schicchi. As opera répititeur at the University of Missouri, she rehearsed Gianni Schicchi, Suor Angelica, Amahl and the Night Visitors, The Crucible, and the world premiere of The Outlaw by Justin Pounds as well as performing the final scenes from both The Rake’s Progress and Eugene Onegin.

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Headshot_TaylorBurkhardt