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  • Accessible arias: Largo al factotum

Accessible arias: Largo al factotum

By Emma Beatty (Former Features Editor)

25 February 2011 at 4.49pm | Comment on this article

Accessible arias: Footage of  famous arias, with subtitles in the original language and translation.

Largo al factotum

Act 1 of Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia/ Barber of Seville,
Figaro makes his entrance

CONTEXT: Figaro’s jubilant entrance song comes just after the Count's serenade in Act I (see previous post). The count’s problem is that his would-be girlfriend is imprisoned by an old man, Dr Bartolo, who is her legal guardian and has plans to become more than that in due course. What the count needs is some cunning Mr Fixit to help with an escape plan. And as luck would have it, in comes just the person: Figaro. Usually we hear him before we see him because his opening cavatina tends to start offstage, its bustling  self-importance trumpeting through the (still earlymorning) streets of Seville. And self-importance is the word. In this most famous of baritone numbers, Figaro introduces himself as the sharpest character in town – not just  because he’s in demand as a barber-surgeon but because his profession opens doors and enables him to offer other, more discreet services concerning affairs of the heart. He is, as he says, the town factotum before whom all must step back (Largo al factotum) while he goes about his business. And apart from the technical requirements of this number – which accelerates into a fast-moving patter song and demands stamina as well as elegance – its chief difficulty is to sell the idea of Figaro’s capabilities without him sounding horribly conceited. He is, after all, the title role in a comic opera. If you don’t like him, it’s a problem.

LISTEN: Pietro Spagnoli sings Largo al factotum in Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s production of Il barbiere di Siviglia/The Barber of Seville. Excerpt from a Radio 3 recording, 10 July 2010.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHj9tQY3GvY

LYRICS: In the original Italian, as sung on stage, and in their English translation.

La ran la le ra, la ran la. La!
Largo al factotum della città, largo
La ran la le ra, la ran la. La!

Presto a bottega, che l’alba è già, presto!
Ah che bel vivere, che bel mestiere,
che bel piacere per un barbiere di qualità!
Ah bravo Figaro. Bravo! bravissimo! bravo!
La ran la le ra, la ran la. La!

Fortunatissimo per verità! Bravo!
La ran la le ra, la ran la. La!
Fortunatissimo, per verità!
La ran la la la

Pronto a far tutto, la notte, il giorno,
sempre d’intorno in giro sta.
Miglior cuccagna per un barbiere,
vita più nobile, no, non si dà.
La ran la le ra, la ran la la.

Rasori e pettini, lancette e forbici
al mio commando tutto qui sta.
Rasori e pettini, lancette e forbici
al mio commando tutto qui sta.

V’è la risorsa poi del mestiere, colla donnetta,
col cavaliere, colla donnetta... La la la le la.
col cavaliere... La la la le la.

Ah che bel vivere, che bel mestiere.
Che bel piacere.
Per un barbiere di qualità.
Tutti mi chiedono, tutti mi vogliono,
donne, ragazzi, vecchi, fanciulle.

Qua la parrucca... Presto la barba...
Qua la sanguigna... Presto il biglietto...
Tutte mi chiedono, tutte mi vogliono. La la la la.

Presto la barba. Presto il biglietto, eh!
Figaro! Figaro! Figaro!

Ahimè, che furia!
Ahimè, che folla!
Uno alla volta, per carità!
Ehi, Figaro! Son qua.
Ehi, Figaro! Son qua.
Figaro qua, Figaro là, Figaro su, Figaro giù.

Pronto prontissimo son come il fulmine:
Sono il factotum della città.

Bravo Figaro! Bravo,
bravissimo, fortunatissimo, per verità, la, la, la
Sono il factotum della città.

La ran la le ra, la ran la la.
Make way for the city’s factotum, make way!
La ran la le ra, la ran la la.

Hurry to the shop, dawn is breaking.
Ah, what a good life, such a good trade to have,
what fine pleasures for a barber of quality!
Ah, bravo Figaro! Bravo, bravissimo!
La ran la le ra, la ran la la.

So fortunate, so very fortunate!
La ran la le ra, la ran la. La!
so very fortunate!
La ran la la la

Ready to do anything, night or day,
Always on the go.
There’s no better life for a barber,
a more noble life, is not to be had.
La ran la le ra, la ran la la.

Razors and combs, lancets and scissors,
everything's here at my command.
Razors and combs, lancets and scissors,
everything's here at my command.

I’ve got all the tools of the trade , for fine ladies
and for the gentlemen... for fine ladies… La la le la
for the fine gentelmen… La la la le la.

Ah, what a good life, such a good trade.
Such a great pleasure.
For a barber of quality
Everyone asks for me, everyone wants me,
Ladies, boys, old men young girls.

Here is the wig...The beard is ready...
Here are the leeches... The letter is ready...
Everyone asks for me, everyone wants me,

The beard is ready.. The letter is ready, hey!
Figaro! Figaro! Figaro!

Ah, what a fuss!
Ah, what a crowd!
One at a time, please!
Hey, Figaro! I'm here.
Hey, Figaro! I'm here.
Figaro here, Figaro there, Figaro up, Figaro down,

Quick, super quick, I’m like lightening:
I’m the factotum for all the city.

Bravo Figaro! Bravo,
bravissimo; you’re truly so lucky, la, la, la.
I'm the factotum for all the city.

   

Composer: Rossini. Libretto: Cesare Sterbini after the play’Le barbier de Seville by PierreAugustin Beaumarchais. Discover more about The Barber of Seville/Il barbiere di Siviglia:  synopsis, characters, context text, full details of current production.
Credits: Intro text: Michael White. Score by Ricordi, as sung on stage, translations: Emma Beatty/Michele Bona. Photo: Bill Cooper

By Emma Beatty (Former Features Editor)

25 February 2011 at 4.49pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged Accessible Arias, Barber of Seville, Barbiere di Siviglia, lyrics, pietro spagnoli, rossini

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