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The Barber of Seville

Act I, Scene 1

A plaza in the city of Seville.

In the early hours of the morning Count Almaviva, with the aid of his servant Fiorello and a band of musicians, sings a serenade under a balcony. When his song elicits no response, the musicians noisily depart and the Count considers his next move. He hides when he hears the approach of Figaro who enters declaring that everyone in the city depends on him as barber and general factotum. The Count recognizes Figaro and confides his predicament. The Count has fallen in love with the daughter of a doctor and he has followed her to this house, waiting night and day in the hopes of seeing her. Figaro tells the Count to be of good cheer because he is indispensable to the household and can help. He tells him that Rosina is not the doctor’s daughter, but only his ward, but that the old man plans to marry Rosina for her inheritance. The balcony door opens and Rosina comes out with a letter she would like to give to her suitor (whose identity she doesn’t know). She is interrupted by the entrance of Dr. Bartolo, who wants to know the contents of the letter, which Rosina lets drop to the street. As Dr. Bartolo goes down to get the letter, the Count retrieves it. Dr. Bartolo, thinking that Rosina is up to something, insists that she go inside. Figaro reads the letter to the Count, which encourages his advances. Dr. Bartolo leaves the house planning to hurry his marriage to Rosina. The Count sings to Rosina again, telling her that he is a poor student named Lindoro. When she begins to answer him from inside the house, she is interrupted. The Count and Figaro plot how to further the Count's cause which Figaro is only happy to do, provided that he is well compensated.

Act I, Scene 2

A room in the house of Dr. Bartolo

Rosina's heart has been touched by Lindoro and she is determined to outwit Dr. Bartolo in order to be with the poor student. Figaro enters but his conversation with Rosina is interrupted by Bartolo and he hides. The doctor tries to find out what she was talking to Figaro about but she won't tell him and leaves. Don Basilio, Rosina's music teacher and Bartolo's confidant enters and informs him that Rosina's secret lover Count Almaviva has arrived in Seville. Basilio suggests that they slander the Count as a way of getting rid of him, but Bartolo thinks it would be better for him to marry Rosina quickly and the two leave to make plans. Figaro has overheard this and tells Rosina who seems unconcerned.  She is more interested in learning about her unknown suitor. Figaro tells her that the poor student is his cousin who has fallen hopelessly in love with her. He tries to convince her to write the young man a few words of encouragement; she coyly hesitates, only to produce the letter she has already written.  Figaro leaves to deliver it and Dr. Bartolo enters, again trying to interrogate Rosina.  When she again proves obstinate, he threatens to keep her locked up in the house.
Rosina leaves and there is a loud knock on the door. It is Count Almaviva, disguised as a drunken soldier. He claims that he has been assigned to billet in Bartolo's house. When Bartolo gets the paper exempting him, the Count runs his sword through it, demanding to stay there. Figaro enters and attempts to quiet things down, but the Count becomes increasingly raucous. The police enter and are about to arrest the Count when he quietly signals his true identity to them and they come to attention. This confuses everyone who don't know what to make of this turn of events.

Act II

The music room in the house of Dr. Bartolo

Having found no one in the regiment who knows the drunken soldier, Dr. Bartolo's suspicions have been aroused. A knock on the door reveals Count Almaviva, this time disguised as a music teacher named Don Alonso. He claims to have been sent to give Rosina her lesson because Don Basilio is ill. Suspicious, Bartolo suggests that they visit Basilio but is deterred when the Count gives him the letter he had received from Rosina, telling Bartolo he will use it to tell the girl that he'd gotten it from another of the Count's lovers. Bartolo falls for the story and summons Rosina who immediately recognizes the Count (as Lindoro). Bartolo falls asleep as the Count accompanies her in an aria, during which they plot to elope that evening. Awakening, Bartolo complains that the he can't stand modern music and proceeds to demonstrate an older aria that he prefers. Figaro slips in and proceeds to mock him. The barber has come to give Bartolo his shave, which the doctor refuses. When Figaro complains that he feels mistreated and will have nothing further to do this crazy household, Bartolo relents and gives Figaro his keys to fetch the shaving basin. Figaro uses this opportunity to steal the key to the balcony for the elopement. They are suddenly interrupted by Don Basilio, who has arrived to give Rosina her lesson. Count Almaviva thinks quickly convincing Bartolo that since Basilio doesn't know anything about Rosina's letter, he might ruin the plan and the best thing to do is to get Basilio back home and to bed. They all convince Basilio that he is deathly ill (aided by a purse full of money from the Count) and Basilio leaves. As Figaro begins to shave Bartolo, the Count tries to warn Rosina about the letter he has given Bartolo, but the doctor overhears him, chases the Count and Figaro out.

The maid Berta complains about the goings on in the house. Bartolo returns with Don Basilio, who suspects that Don Alonso was none other than Count Almaviva himself. Bartolo sends Basilio out to make arrangements for an immediate wedding. He calls in Rosina and shows her the letter, telling the girl that he'd received it from a lover of Count Almaviva and that her beloved planned to turn her over to the Count. Stunned, Rosina agrees to marry Bartolo and tells him of the plan for the elopement. He tells her to hide in her room while he goes to fetch the police. After a storm the Count and Figaro use a ladder to climb up to the balcony and steal into the house. Rosina greets them with reproaches. Heartened that Rosina really loves the poor student Lindoro, the Count reveals his true identity and Rosina realizes that she has been duped by Bartolo. The three plan to flee but discover that the ladder has been removed from the balcony. Basilio enters with the notary and with a purse and a gun, the Count convinces Basilio to facilitate the marriage between the Count and Rosina. Bartolo enters with the police, but it is too late.  Bartolo finds some consolation in the fact that the Count will let him keep Rosina's dowry. Everyone celebrates the marriage of the Count and Rosina.