Opera Scotland

Barbiere di Siviglia 1827De Begnis Italian Opera Company

Read more about the opera Barber of Seville

The Caledonian Mercury of 8 December 1827 gave an enthusiastic welcome to the news that the famous Italian baritone Giuseppe de Begnis was to bring his company to Edinburgh. 'In addition to the number of great names announced by our worthy manager as engaged for the winter season,, he has, we are glad to hear, succeeded in engaging De Begnis, who, with several performers of the Italian Opera, from the King's Theatre, London, have arrived in this city, and will commence their performances in a few days, when we may expect to be delighted by the representation of some of the finest operas; and we have pleasure in adding that Signor de Begnis has with great good sense yielded to Mr Murray's arguments against increasing the regular prices of admission  during the representation of the Italian Operas. This determination will render the speculation popular and consequently much more productive than any increase of price would have proved.'

This Italian company from the King's Theatre, Haymarket, stayed in Edinburgh from mid-December 1827 to mid-January 1828. It was led by the famous buffo performer Giuseppe de Begnis, who worked frequently in London, managing companies over several years. During this time he also led tours to Dublin, Edinburgh and Bath.

The repertoire for this visit concentrated on Rossini, but was still quite varied. The farcical Barber of Seville was already familiar. But two novelties, a subtle comedy, The Turk in Italy, and the near-tragic Thieving Magpie, show a certain level of ambition by the performers. The non-Rossini piece was a now-forgotten farce by Simone Mayr, Il fanatico per la musica. This remained popular through the early decades of the nineteenth century.

The performance on Saturday 29 December was announced as Fanny Ayton's Benefit, after which she sang 'Bid me Discourse' by Bishop and 'Auld Robin Gray'. All performances of the opera were followed by a short play presented by the resident company - on this occasion a farce entitled Simpson and Co.

Performance Cast

Fiorello servant of the Count

Signor Rubbi (Dec 13, 14, 15, 17)

Mr Felton (Dec 29; Jan 19)

Count Almaviva a young nobleman

Signor Torri

Figaro a barber

Giuseppe de Begnis

Rosina Bartolo's ward

Fanny Ayton

Bartolo a doctor, Rosina's guardian

Alessandro de Angeli

Berta Bartolo's housekeeper

Madame de Angeli

Don Basilio a singing teacher

Signor Giubilei

Production Cast


Vincenzo Gabussi

Performance DatesBarbiere di Siviglia 1827

Map List

Theatre Royal, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

13 Dec, 19.30 14 Dec, 19.30 15 Dec, 19.30 17 Dec, 19.30 29 Dec, 19.30 19 Jan, 19.30

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