Rossini’s Barber of Seville was the first Italian opera performed in the United States, but the first performance back home was met with boos and catcalls. (Literally…someone actually let a cat loose on the stage). All the animosity came from Barber of Seville fans…the first Barber of Seville opera, composed by Giovanni Paisiello. It predated Rossini’s by more than 30 years, and is considered Paisiello’s crowning achievement.

You’ve been listening to Robert Merrill and the Metropolitan Opera chorus, recorded in 1958.

There was even a third Barber of Seville opera in between those two versions, and all three were based on a play. Find out more here.