Gioachino Rossini

The Barber of Seville

Dec 16 - Jan 2

High spirits return for the holidays in the Met’s family-friendly, English-language, two-hour adaptation of one of opera’s most winning comedies. Bartlett Sher’s effervescent production of Rossini’s tuneful masterpiece stars the charming mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, revisiting her portrayal of Rosina, the girl who behaves perfectly—until anyone gets in her way. Antony Walker conducts.

"The baritone Elliot Madore sang Figaro with solidity and plenty of swagger. Ms. Leonard was predictably excellent as Rosina... The acting was spirited everywhere." (New York Times)

"[Isabel Leonard’s] interpretation remains a joy to hear... a blooming tone with plenty of cushion but still precisely focused, complemented by a tittering coloratura... The cast around her was strong as well, beginning with David Portillo... [who] has a bright, creamy leggiero tenor with more than enough power to blaze out the top notes... Elliot Madore was charismatic as Figaro, the sly barber of the title, his tone robust and woolen..." (New York Classical Review)

Special Holiday Pricing
For each full-priced ticket purchased to any performance from now through December 30, an audience member 18 or younger may attend for half price. Learn More

The performance on December 30 will include a pre-show "open house" with activities for families on the Grand Tier, including an insider's look at the production’s sets and props. Doors open at 11 am for a 12:30 pm curtain.

Read Synopsis Read Program
  • Sung In
  • English
  • Met Titles In
  • English
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Estimated Run Time
  • 2 hrs 0 mins
  • House Opens
  • Act I 56 mins
  • Intermission 28 mins
  • Act II 37 mins
  • Opera Ends
Dec 16 - Jan 2

This production has completed for the season.

Be sure to check out our remaining productions on the season list.

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A scene from The Barber of Seville

World premiere: Teatro Argentina, Rome, 1816. Met Premiere: November 23, 1883. Rossini’s perfectly honed treasure survived a famously disastrous opening night (caused by factions and local politics more than any reaction to the work itself) to become what may be the world’s most popular comic opera. Several of its most recognizable melodies have entered the general musical unconscious, most notably the introductory patter song of the swaggering Figaro, the barber of the title. The opera offers superb opportunities for all the vocalists, exciting ensemble composition, and a natural flair for breezy comedy that has scarcely been equaled since.


Gioachino Rossini (1792–1868) was the world’s foremost opera composer in his day. Within just two decades he created more than 30 works, both comic and tragic, before retiring from opera composition at the age of 37. Cesare Sterbini (1784–1831) was an official of the Vatican treasury and a poet. His career as a librettist was short and among his theatrical works only Barbiere is remembered today.

Production Bartlett Sher

Set Designer Michael Yeargan

Costume Designer Catherine Zuber

Lighting Designer Christopher Akerlind

Translation J. D. McClatchy

Gioachino Rossini


Gioachino Rossini


A scene from The Barber of Seville

Seville is something of a mythical neverland for dramatists and opera composers. The intricate, winding streets of the city’s old quarters and the large gypsy and Moorish-descended population and their exotic traditions have added to its allure, and the Don Juan legend has its origins here. Beaumarchais’s play Le Barbier de Séville, the basis for the opera, was revolutionary: set “in the present day,” which meant just before the French Revolution, the work unveiled the hypocrisies of powerful people and the sneaky methods that workers devise to deal with them.


The paradox of Rossini’s music is that the comedy can soar only with disciplined mastery of vocal technique. The singers must be capable of long vocal lines of attention-holding beauty as well as the rapid runs of coloratura singing. The score features solos of astounding speed in comic, tongue-twisting patter forms, especially the title role’s well-known Act I showstopper, “You need a barber in Seville?” (“Largo al factotum”). Beyond the brilliant solos, the singers must blend well with one another in the complex ensembles that occur throughout the opera.

Met History

For the 1954 production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Russian artist Eugene Berman created a highly stylized vision of Seville. For the characters of Don Basilio and Dr. Bartolo, he invented not only appropriate costumes, but also a pair of chairs that echoed the ascetic appearance of Cesare Siepi as the music master and Fernando Corena as the extravagant doctor.

A scene from The Barber of Seville