The Barber of Seville
The action takes place in the Spanish town of Seville.
Outside the house of Dr. Bartolo in Seville
Count Almaviva—disguised as a poor student named Lindoro—is accompanied by his servant Fiorello and some hired musicians as he sings a serenade beneath the window of Rosina. Along comes Figaro, barber and self-styled factotum to all of Seville. Figaro informs the Count, for whom he used to work, that Rosina is the ward of old Dr. Bartolo. When Rosina drops a letter from her window asking her mysterious serenader to identify himself, the Count asks Figaro to help him win Rosina’s hand. Dr. Bartolo leaves the house to arrange his own marriage to Rosina, and the Count takes advantage of this opportunity to sing to Rosina again; he tells her his name is Lindoro—for if she is ever to be the Countess Almaviva, she must love him for himself, not for his lands or money. Figaro plans to smuggle the Count into Dr. Bartolo’s house disguised as a drunken soldier, to gain access to the girl.
Inside, Rosina asks Figaro, barber and doctor to the household, if he will deliver a letter for her. They are interrupted by Dr. Bartolo, who is furious with Figaro for having prescribed medication for his servants that reduced the one to nonstop sneezing and the other to continual yawning. Dr. Bartolo’s confidant Don Basilio, currently employed as Rosina’s singing teacher, warns Bartolo that Count Almaviva has designs on Rosina. Basilio suggests slander as the best way to get rid of Almaviva, and Dr. Bartolo insists they draw up his own marriage contract immediately. When they leave, Figaro, who has overheard the plot, warns Rosina and promises to deliver a note from her to “Lindoro,” and he departs. Suspicious, Dr. Bartolo deduces that Rosina has written someone a letter and harasses her mercilessly. They are interrupted when the Count bursts into the house in his drunken soldier disguise. He insists that he is to lodge here, despite Dr. Bartolo’s strenuous objections, and their quarrel turns into an enormous row involving the entire neighborhood.
Having gotten rid of the drunken soldier, Dr. Bartolo is once again confronted by the Count—disguised this time as Don Alfonso, a music teacher substituting for Don Basilio, who is supposedly ill and unable to teach Rosina’s lesson that day. Dr. Bartolo is suspicious, but “Don Alfonso” allays his fears when he gives Bartolo the letter Rosina wrote to “Lindoro,” and describes his plan to discredit Lindoro, who is clearly pursuing women on the Count’s behalf. During the singing lesson, Rosina sings an aria from the opera “The Useless Precaution,” and Figaro, who is giving Dr. Bartolo a shave, manages to steal the key to Rosina’s bedroom window. Don Basilio turns up, but is quickly booted out the door by the others. When Dr. Bartolo discovers the lovers plotting their elopement, he kicks the Count and Figaro out of the house and summons Basilio to fetch the notary so Bartolo can marry Rosina that evening. He shows Rosina her letter and tells her that her “Lindoro” is really wooing her on behalf of another man, the Count. Shocked and unhappy, Rosina agrees to marry Dr. Bartolo.
Figaro and the Count prepare the elopement as a furious storm rages. When Rosina refuses to go with them, “Lindoro” reveals his true identity. Basilio is threatened and bribed into witnessing the marriage of Almaviva and Rosina. Dr. Bartolo concedes defeat and blesses the lovers.