The young Count Almaviva has set his sights on an unknown beauty, but wanting to be loved for himself and not for his money, he has disguised himself as “Lindoro,” a poor student. Figaro, the barber, tells him that his beloved is actually Rosina, ward of the elderly Doctor Bartolo, who keeps her locked in his house and plans to marry her himself — but Figaro promises that they will outwit him.
Rosina is equally determined to thwart her guardian’s intentions. She writes a letter to “Lindoro” and Figaro promises to deliver it. The unscrupulous music master, Basilio, passes along to Doctor Bartolo the rumor that Almaviva is interested in Rosina, so Bartolo decides to thwart him by marrying her immediately. With Figaro’s help, Almaviva, now disguised as a drunken soldier, demands to be billeted at Doctor Bartolo’s house, and they create such a commotion that the neighbors call out the militia.
Almaviva is undiscouraged by the unsuccessful ploy of the morning, and arrives disguised this time as “Don Alonso,” a musician, claiming that Don Basilio is ill and that he is the substitute who will give Rosina her music lesson — under cover of which they make plans to elope that night. Basilio himself arrives unexpectedly, reveals the identity of the “music master,” and stuns Rosina with the news that “Lindoro” is actually an agent for a Count Almaviva, who only wants to marry her for her money. In a rage she agrees to marry Doctor Bartolo, and tells him about the elopement.
A thunderstorm passes; Figaro and Almaviva climb into the house with the help of a ladder and persuade Rosina that “Lindoro” is in fact Count Almaviva himself but, after a rapturous reunion, the lovers find they are unable to escape because Bartolo has taken the ladder. Basilio arrives with the notary who will marry Rosina to Bartolo, but the Count bribes Basilio to witness his own marriage to Rosina instead. Bartolo appears too late; all his precautions have been useless.
Reprinted with permission from Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.