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The Barber of Seville...

Robert and I met Mary, her mother, and Kelly at Memorial Auditorium at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts to attend today's performance of Gioachino Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia.

In the lobby, before Kelly arrived, I reviewed my mindmap for today's performance with Mary and her mother:




Act I: Street Outside Doctor Bartolo’s House at Dawn

Count Almaviva, scion of a noble family, has fallen in love from a distance with the beautiful commoner, Rosina, while she was visiting in Madrid. Disguised as a poor student he has pursued her to Seville.

The opera opens as a group of musicians under the guidance of the Count’s servant, Fiorello, gather below the balcony of the house where Rosina lives under the constant watch of her guardian, Don Bartolo. They have been hired to accompany a serenade, which the Count sings to her. When his song fails to rouse her he generously pays them off. The musicians shower Almaviva with profuse thanks and only with difficulty are they finally persuaded to leave. Hearing someone coming the Count retires.

Figaro arrives singing his own praises. The Count is delighted because he is sure that Figaro, his quick-witted former servant, will be able to help him in his suit. The Count explains that he has fallen in love with Rosina but is wooing her in disguise as Lindoro, so he can be sure she loves him for himself and not for his rank. He asks Figaro to help him get a chance to talk with Rosina. Figaro responds that it will be easy since he is Bartolo’s barber and has free access to the house.

Rosina appears on the balcony and drops a note to her unknown admirer. Bartolo drags her back inside and declares his intention to marry Rosina himself the next day. The Count sings another serenade as Figaro devises a plan: Almaviva will disguise himself as a drunken soldier and appear with a faked document ordering that he be quartered in Bartolo’s house. Delighted, the plotters rush off set the plan in motion.

Act II: Doctor Bartolo’s Study

Alone in Doctor Bartolo’s study, Rosina is putting the finishing touches on a letter to her Lindoro. Figaro arrives and hides when Bartolo enters. Bartolo is joined by his accomplice, Don Basilio, an unprincipled intriguer, who doubles as Rosina's singing teacher. Basilio reports that Count Almaviva whom they suspect is interested in Rosina has arrived in Seville, and proposes to discredit him as a suitor by spreading malicious gossip. Bartolo prefers immediate action, and goes off with Basilio to draw up a marriage contract.

Figaro and Rosina are left alone at last. Rosina wants to know more about the stranger who has serenaded her. Figaro says he is only a poor student, but head over heels in love with her. Rosina is overjoyed to learn that her admirer will come that day to visit, and gives Figaro her letter to deliver.

Bartolo returns. His suspicions are aroused by the evidence that Rosina has been writing a letter. He vows to have her watched day and night to guarantee her innocence.

Count Almaviva arrives in his drunken soldier disguise. A furious quarrel with Bartolo develops during which Rosina and the Count manage to exchange a few furtive signals. Figaro’s attempts to calm things down are ineffective, and the tumult is finally interrupted by the arrival of the police. The officer in charge is about to arrest the Count, but backs off when the Count takes him aside and secretly reveals his identity. Everyone freezes in amazement at the apparently inexplicable change in behavior by the police, and then explodes into confusion.

Act III: The Music Room

In another attempt to communicate with Rosina, Count Almaviva has adopted a new disguise. Claiming to be a substitute teacher sent by Basilio, the Count persuades Bartolo to let him give Rosina her singing lesson, but only after he allays Bartolo’s suspicions by giving him Rosina's note as proof that he is really on Bartolo’s side. Figaro helps out by insisting on shaving Bartolo, so the lovers can have a few more unobserved minutes together and manages to steal the key to Rosina's room in the process. The ruse is almost given away when Basilio arrives, but a timely bribe from the Count persuades him to play along. Eventually Bartolo manages to overhear enough to get a sense of what is going on, and in a rage he chases the conspirators out.

Determined now to marry Rosina at once, Bartolo sends Basilio to get the notary. He calls in Rosina and, using her note, convinces her that Lindoro and the barber are planning to sell her to the Count Almaviva. Hurt and betrayed, Rosina agrees to marry Bartolo immediately. He goes for the police, intending to have the conspirators arrested when they come for Rosina.

As a furious storm rages, Figaro and the Count climb into the house through Rosina’s balcony. Rosina confronts them with their perfidy. However, once the Count reveals that he and Lindoro are the same person, Rosina joyously agrees to marry him. Basilio arrives with the notary; his objections to the marriage are quickly silenced with another bribe. When Bartolo returns with the police it is too late. Rosina and Count Almaviva have signed the marriage contract.


Anyone who has been reading for a while knows that I'm an irreverent opera fan. I have to make it "fun," and I have two ways of doing that: (1) By creating my outrageous mindmaps, which we take to each performance, and against which we make "air checks" whenever any events I have depicted take place on the stage (much to the chagrin of our neighbors in the "dress circle" season seats we have), and (2) By counting typos and grammar errors in the translations captions being displayed on a computer screen above the performance.

Previous opera mindmaps: The Merry Widow, Tosca

I have season tickets with my friend Mary, mostly because she cannot find a straight man who will attend the opera with her, but also because she is fun -- she appreciates the mindmaps, and she loves finding typos and grammar errors with me.

In this afternoon's performance, regrettably, we found several, which included:
  • that was used where this should have been
  • lot's, instead of lots, was used in the context of something like "lots of friends"
  • your, instead of you're, was used in the context of something like "you're going to..."
  • girls, instead of girl's, was used in the context of something like "the girl's teacher"
  • intensions was used where intentions should have been
  • then was capitalized in the middle of a sentence in the context of something like "Well, then..."
  • Near the end, a line that was repeated about three times, used loves, instead of love's, in the context of "love's contentment" and "love's compassion"
  • I'm pretty sure there was one word that should have ended in "ability" that they had ending in "ibility"
  • head ache, instead of headache
While I make light of this situation, deep down I think it's very sad that an enterprise like the opera that tends to see itself as "high-brow," constantly has these "low-brow" kinds of errors in its translation captions. They need an editor.



I listened to quite a bit of The Da Vinci Code on my iPod today. When I got to the chapters in the mid-40s (44, 45, 46, 47, etc.), each chapter kept repeating once before moving on to the next one.

Twice, I checked to make sure the "repeat" wasn't set to "on." It wasn't. From the main menu, I hit the "reset settings," option. Still repeating.

Finally, I noticed that I had two copies of each of those chapters downloaded to the iPod. Duh.

I deleted the extra copies, and all was well. The story has picked up, and I'm back into it.

So far, however, this book is reading as pure fiction to me. I'm yet to understand all the fuss about how this story might embarrass the Catholic Church. I'm sure I will before it's all "read to me" and done.



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