Tune of the Day: Overture from Il barbiere di Siviglia
Rossini was well known for being remarkably productive, completing an average of two operas per year for 19 years, and in some years writing as many as four. Musicologists believe that, true to form, the music for Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) was composed in just under three weeks, and some of the themes in the famous overture were actually borrowed from two earlier Rossini operas, Aureliano in Palmira and Elisabetta, regina d'Inghilterra.
The first performance of this opera in 1816 was a disastrous failure: the audience hissed and jeered throughout, and several on-stage accidents occurred. However, many of the audience were supporters of one of Rossini's rivals, Giovanni Paisiello, who had already set The Barber of Seville to music, and took Rossini's new version to be an affront to his version. The second performance met with quite a different fate, becoming a roaring success. It is curious to note that the original French play of Le Barbier de Séville endured a similar story, hated at first only to become a favorite within a week!