This Saturday marks the 200th anniversary of the world’s most loved comedic opera, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville.
The two-act opera, based on the 1775 French comedy of the same name by Beaumarchais, was originally titled The Futile Precaution and premiered at Teatro Argentina in Rome on February 20, 1816.
It had a tough start because a rival composer, Paisiello, had already released a version and stacked the audience with people who booed and jeered the performance, which also had its share of mishaps.
But by the second show, it was a hit and to this day, remains on the top 10 list of most performed operas, with the overture popularised by Bugs Bunny and Figaro’s aria, ‘Largo al factotum’ beloved by barbers all over the world.
To mark the anniversary, Opera Australia is doing two cool things. First up, when anyone who books via the Leukaemia Foundation website for the Sydney Opera House season of The Barber of Seville, which opened this week, Opera Australia will donate $18.16 from every ticket to the charity in the lead up to this year’s World’s Greatest Shave on March 10-13.
The other thing they’re doing is offering 200 tickets for 200 cents for people under 30.
The company says the fast pace and quick wit of The Barber of Seville makes it accessible and the perfect first opera.
The $2 tickets go on sale this Friday, 19 February, from 9am at the Opera Australia Sydney box office at 480 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills. It’s cash only, first-come-first-served and one ticket per person. You must bring proof of age ID too.