The “curse” of Gioachino Rossini’s opening night.

 In Program Notes

Gioachino Rossini – The Barber of Seville

Have you ever heard the saying that a disastrous dress rehearsal is a sign of good luck? In Gioachino Rossini’s case, it was a disastrous opening night that sealed the astronomical fate of Barber of Seville.

Based off of popular librettist Pierre Beaumarchais and prominent composer Giovanni Paisiello’s French Comedy, Le Barbier de Séville, 24-year-old Gioachino Rossini’s Barber of Seville was written in less than 3 weeks, and to say it was poorly-received would be putting it politely. 

After avid Paisiello fans caught wind of Rossini’s seemingly copycat production, a theatrical coup was staged. On the night of February 20, 1816, taunts and jeers from Paisiello’s followers filled the Teatro Argentina in Rome, setting the tone for the duration of the performance. A cat even wandered onto the stage during the performance. Tom? Is that you?

Unsurprisingly, Rossini thought it best to stay home during the second performance the next night, in an attempt to avoid the hoard of passionate Paisiello followers. But, later that evening, a crowd began to form around Rossini’s home for another reason: his opera was a hit. 

Now described as the “opera buffa of all opere buffe”, Rossini’s Barber of Seville carries the legacy as being one of the most loved and recognized works of all time.

Don’t miss our presentation of Gioachino Rossini’s Overture to Barber of Seville at our Opening Night Gala Concert with guest violinist Rachel Barton Pine on September 14 at 8:00pm, sans cat. 

Tickets can be purchased HERE.

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment