The story of "The Barber of Seville" in brief. Seattle Opera presents a production that opens Jan. 15, 2011.

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The plot of ‘The Barber of Seville’

Act I

Outside Dr. Bartolo’s house in Seville, Count Almaviva serenades his beloved Rosina. Figaro — barber and self-styled “factotum” to the whole city — enters and tells him that Rosina is the doctor’s ward. The Count explains that he is wooing her in the guise of a poor student, “Lindoro,” because he wants to be loved for himself and not as an aristocrat. They plot to outwit Bartolo by billeting the Count, disguised as a drunken soldier, in the house.

In her cavatina “Una voce poco fa,” Rosina expresses her determination to marry “Lindoro,” but Don Basilio, her singing teacher, warns Bartolo that his wish to marry her himself is in danger. Bartolo insists on having his marriage contract drawn up immediately. Overhearing their plot, Figaro warns Rosina, and promises to take a note from her to “Lindoro.” The Count enters in his drunken-soldier disguise, and resulting imbroglio reaches a peak of hilarity in the act’s finale.

Act II

Bartolo has succeeded in getting rid of the drunken soldier, but now opens his doors to the Count in another disguise — as “Don Alonso,” substitute for Don Basilio, who he says is sick. He allays Bartolo’s suspicions by giving him the note Rosina wrote to “Lindoro,” whom, he says, he plans to frustrate by means of slander.

Figaro, shaving Bartolo, manages to steal the key to Rosina’s bedroom window. Basilio suddenly enters, but is quickly booted out. Discovering the lovers’ plot, Bartolo in his turn kicks out Figaro and the Count, who has promised to come for her at midnight. He deceives Rosina into thinking that “Lindoro,” who has promised to come for her at midnight, is trifling with her, and in despair she agrees to marry Bartolo. So, when the Count appears at the top of a ladder outside her bedroom, she refuses to go with him. “Lindoro” then reveals his true identity. Basilio is threatened and bribed into witnessing Almaviva’s and Rosina’s marriage. Bartolo objects, but Almaviva makes him understand that he has lost; the doctor concedes defeat, and blesses the lovers.

Bernard Jacobson, special to The Seattle Times