Una voce poco fa from Il Barbiere di Siviglia - Score

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The audience had settled down for this. But when they saw Zamboni, as Figaro, come on the stage with another guitar, another fit of laughing and whistling seized them, and the racket rendered the solo completely inaudible. Rosina appeared on the balcony. The public greatly admired Mme. Giorgi-Righetti and was disposed to applaud her. Naturally the audience immediately thought of the two guitars, and went on laughing, whistling, and hissing during the entire duet between Almaviva and Figaro.

The work seemed doomed. Finally Rosina came on the stage and sang the "Una voce poco fa" A little voice I heard just now which had been awaited with impatience and which today is still considered an operatic tour de force for soprano. The youthful charm of Mme. Girogi-Righetti, the beauty of her voice, and the favour with which the public regarded, her, "won her a sort of ovation" in this number.

A triple round of prolonged applause raised hopes for the fate of the work. Rossini rose from his seat at the pianoforte, and bowed. But realizing that the applause was chiefly meant for the singer, he called to her in a whisper, "Oh, natura! The whistling was resumed louder than ever at the duet between Figaro and Rosina. When the curtain fell on the first act Rossini turned toward the audience, slightly shrugged his shoulders, and clapped his hands. The audience, though greatly offended by this show of contemptuous disregard for its opinion -- reserved its revenge for the second act, not a note of which it allowed to be heard.

At the conclusion of the outrage, for such it was, Rossini left the theatre with as much nonchalance as if the row had concerned the work of another. After they had gotten into their street clothes the singers hurried to his lodgings to condole with him. He was sound asleep! There have been three historic failures of opera.

The earliest I have just described. For the second performance of "Il Barbiere" Rossini replaced the unlucky air introduced by Garcia with the "Ecco ridente il cielo," as it now stands. This cavatina he borrowed from an earlier opera of his own, "Aureliano in Palmira" Aurelian in Palmyra. It also had figured in a cantata not an opera by Rossini, "Ciro in Babilonia" Cyrus in Babylon -- so that measures first sung by a Persian king in the ancient capital of Nebuchadnezzar, and then by a Roman emperor and his followers in the city which fourished in an oasis in the Syrian desert, were found suitable to be intoned by a love-sick Spanish count of the seventeenth century as a serenade to his lady of Seville.

It surely is amusing to discover in tracing this air to its original source, that "Ecco ridente il cielo" Lo, smiles the morning in the sky figured in "Aureliano in Palmira" as an address to Isis -- "Sposa del grande Osiride" Spouse of the great Osiris. Equally amusing is the relation of the overture to the opera. The original is said to have been lost. The present one has nothing to do with the ever-ready Figaro, the coquettish Rosina, or the sentimental Almaviva, although there have been writers who have dilated upon it as reflecting the spirit of the opera and its characters. However, "Ecco ridente," adapted in such haste to "Il Barbiere" after the failure of Garcia Spanish ditty, was sung by that artist the evening of the second performance, and loudly applauded.

Moreover, Rossini had eliminated from his score everything that seemed to him to have been reasonably disapproved of. Then, pretending to be indisposed, he went to bed in order to avoid appearing at the pianoforte. The public, while not over-enthusiastic, received the work well on this second evening; and before long Rossini was accompanied to his rooms in triumph several evenings in succession, by the light of a thousand torches in the hands of the same Romans who had hissed his opera but a little while before.

The work was first given under the title Rossini had insisted on, but soon changed back to that of the original libretto, "Il Barbiere di Siviglia. The first performance in the Salle Louvois was coldly received. But the opposite of what had been expected happened.

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The work was found to be superannuated. It was voted a bore. It scored a fiasco. Rossini triumphed.

Una Voce Poco Fa (Il Barbiere Di Siviglia)

The elder Garcia, the Almaviva of the production in Rome, played the same role in Paris, as he also did in London, and at the first Italian performance of the work in New York. Rossini had the reputation of being indolent in the extreme -- when he had nothing to do.

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We have seen that when the overture to "Il Barbiere di Siviglia" was lost if he really ever composed one , he did not take the trouble to compose another, but replaced it with an earlier one. In the music lesson scene in the second act the original score is said to have contained a trio, presumably for Rosina, Almaviva, and Bartolo.

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This is said to have been lost with the overture. As with the overture, Rossini did not attempt to recompose this number either. He simply let his prima donna sing anything she wanted to. Similar compositions. Series: Masses, Theme: 0-miscellaneous. Series: Liederkreis Op. Series: Songs secular , Theme: 0-miscellaneous.

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Widmung Dedication op. Series: Songs: Myrten, Theme: 0-miscellaneous. Als die alte Mutter op. O mio babbino caro Puccini, Giacomo. Series: Opera: Gianni Schicchi, Theme: 0-miscellaneous. Lied an den Mond Dvorak, Antonin. Series: Operas, Theme: 0-miscellaneous. Series: songs sacred , Theme: 0-miscellaneous. Series: Songs Ballads , Theme: 0-miscellaneous. Gondelfahrer Es tanzen Mond und Sterne D , op. The youthful charm of Mme.

Girogi-Righetti, the beauty of her voice, and the favour with which the public regarded, her, "won her a sort of ovation" in this number. A triple round of prolonged applause raised hopes for the fate of the work. Rossini rose from his seat at the pianoforte, and bowed.


  1. Aria guides: Una voce poco fa.
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But realizing that the applause was chiefly meant for the singer, he called to her in a whisper, "Oh, natura! The whistling was resumed louder than ever at the duet between Figaro and Rosina. When the curtain fell on the first act Rossini turned toward the audience, slightly shrugged his shoulders, and clapped his hands. The audience, though greatly offended by this show of contemptuous disregard for its opinion -- reserved its revenge for the second act, not a note of which it allowed to be heard. At the conclusion of the outrage, for such it was, Rossini left the theatre with as much nonchalance as if the row had concerned the work of another.

After they had gotten into their street clothes the singers hurried to his lodgings to condole with him. He was sound asleep! There have been three historic failures of opera. The earliest I have just described. For the second performance of "Il Barbiere" Rossini replaced the unlucky air introduced by Garcia with the "Ecco ridente il cielo," as it now stands.

This cavatina he borrowed from an earlier opera of his own, "Aureliano in Palmira" Aurelian in Palmyra. It also had figured in a cantata not an opera by Rossini, "Ciro in Babilonia" Cyrus in Babylon -- so that measures first sung by a Persian king in the ancient capital of Nebuchadnezzar, and then by a Roman emperor and his followers in the city which fourished in an oasis in the Syrian desert, were found suitable to be intoned by a love-sick Spanish count of the seventeenth century as a serenade to his lady of Seville.

It surely is amusing to discover in tracing this air to its original source, that "Ecco ridente il cielo" Lo, smiles the morning in the sky figured in "Aureliano in Palmira" as an address to Isis -- "Sposa del grande Osiride" Spouse of the great Osiris. Equally amusing is the relation of the overture to the opera. The original is said to have been lost. The present one has nothing to do with the ever-ready Figaro, the coquettish Rosina, or the sentimental Almaviva, although there have been writers who have dilated upon it as reflecting the spirit of the opera and its characters.

However, "Ecco ridente," adapted in such haste to "Il Barbiere" after the failure of Garcia Spanish ditty, was sung by that artist the evening of the second performance, and loudly applauded. Moreover, Rossini had eliminated from his score everything that seemed to him to have been reasonably disapproved of.

Then, pretending to be indisposed, he went to bed in order to avoid appearing at the pianoforte. The public, while not over-enthusiastic, received the work well on this second evening; and before long Rossini was accompanied to his rooms in triumph several evenings in succession, by the light of a thousand torches in the hands of the same Romans who had hissed his opera but a little while before. The work was first given under the title Rossini had insisted on, but soon changed back to that of the original libretto, "Il Barbiere di Siviglia.

The first performance in the Salle Louvois was coldly received. But the opposite of what had been expected happened. The work was found to be superannuated. It was voted a bore. It scored a fiasco. Rossini triumphed. The elder Garcia, the Almaviva of the production in Rome, played the same role in Paris, as he also did in London, and at the first Italian performance of the work in New York.

Rossini had the reputation of being indolent in the extreme -- when he had nothing to do.


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  • We have seen that when the overture to "Il Barbiere di Siviglia" was lost if he really ever composed one , he did not take the trouble to compose another, but replaced it with an earlier one. In the music lesson scene in the second act the original score is said to have contained a trio, presumably for Rosina, Almaviva, and Bartolo. This is said to have been lost with the overture.

    As with the overture, Rossini did not attempt to recompose this number either. He simply let his prima donna sing anything she wanted to. Perhaps it was Giorgi-Righetti who first selected "La Biondina in gondoletta," which was frequently sung in the lesson scene by Italian prima donnas. Later there was substituted the air "Di tanti palpiti" from the opera "Tancredi," which is known as the "aria dei rizzi," or "rice aria," because Rossini, who was a great gourmet, composed it while cooking his rice.

    The artifices of opera are remarkable. The most incongruous things happen. Yet because they do not occur in a drawing-room in real life, but on a stage separated from us by footlights, we lose all sense of their incongruity. The lesson scene occurs, for example, in an opera composed by Rossini in But the composition now introduced into that scene not only are not by Rossini but, for the most, are modern waltz songs and compositions entirely different from the class that a voice pupil, at the time the opera was composed, could possibly have sung.

    But so convincing is the fiction of the stage, so delightfully lawless its artifices, that these things do not trouble us at all.

    Cecilia Bartoli: "Una voce poco fa". G. Rossini