«Always make Barbiere! Always Barbiere!», Beethoven suggested to Rossini on meeting him in Vienna. “I cannot help but think that Il barbiere di Siviglia, by its abundance of true musical ideas, comic verve and truth of declamation, is the finest opera buffa that exists”. Thus wrote Giuseppe Verdi to a French critic in 1898. Rossini never composed a more successful opera than Barbiere. Still nowadays the work, which premiered at Rome’s Teatro Argentina in 1816, is the most famous opera comedy worldwide. Virtually every piece in it is a musical gem, including Figaro’s “Largo al factotum”, Basilio’s “La calunnia”, Rosina’s “Una voce poco fa”, the ensemble “Zitti zitti, piano piano”, and more.
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