Saturday January 20, 2018 8:39 pm


Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville), Rossini’s (1792-1868) popular work contains some of opera’s most tuneful and recognizable music – from its lively overture to Figaro’s “Largo al factotum” to Rosina’s “Una voce poco fa.” Based on the play of the same title by the French dramatist Beaumarchais (1732-1799), the opera is a delightful rigmarole of riotous situations in a race between a handsome young Count Almaviva and an aging Don Bartolo to win the hand of the young Rosina.


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Scenes from
the San Diego Opera production (1998)



photo credit: Ken Howard
courtesy: San Diego Opera


Scenes from:



Paris Opera
Vienna State Opera
Netherlands Opera
Washington Opera


It is a role Vivica Genaux has performed many times in her rising career to rave reviews. It was the vehicle of her surprise debut at the Metropolitan Opera on December 17, 1998. She sang the role for five performances altogether, including that aired live on the Texaco Metropolitan Opera Saturday Broadcast. This MET debut proved her mettle, as it happened under rather difficult circumstances. She was summoned by the MET on a late Monday evening to substitute for an ailing Vasselina Kasarova, the Bulgarian mezzo-soprano (who interestingly got her lucky break a few years ago by substituting for an indisposed Marilyn Horne at a Salzburg Festival concert) slated to make her MET debut as Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia the following Wednesday evening. No time for a full stage or orchestral rehearsal, all she got in the way of preparation was a production walk-through, some coaching by the music staff, and moral support from the rest of the cast. Enough to turn anyone’s legs into Jello! But not Vivica – she proved to be a real trouper and a professional. By all accounts her performance was memorable and impressive. And those who tuned in to her Texaco broadcast debut heard a delightfully spirited, confident Rosina and surely noticed the warm ovation she received from the audience. After this winning debut, this young mezzo’s star could not but rise even higher, as indeed it has!

Watch a video clip from her Dallas Opera performance:

Vivica sang Rosina at her debuts with the Metropolitan Opera, Opera National de France (Bastille), Wiener Staatsoper, Bayerische Staatsoper, Seattle and Washington Operas, among others. It has become a signature role and no doubt she will sing it for many more years to come.

(Click HERE for Vivica’s performance calendar.)

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