Rossini’s Pandora’s Box

Che vuol cantare?

During this month we celebrate the 200th anniversary of Rossini’s most popular opera “Il Barbiere di Siviglia”. We invite you to join in the celebration by sharing your thoughts on “trunk arias”, so called because they were reportedly carried around in a singer’s trunk as they traveled from theater to theater. No place has this been more common than the lesson scene of “Barbiere”, but then you could say, Rossini invited it with the opening line.

The tradition of replacing Rossini’s “Contro un core” with another aria ( often to showcase the talents of the singer) began in fact with the original Rosina, Geltrude Righetti-Giorgi, (pictured) although she didn’t do it at the premire.

Since then there have been all sorts of substitutions. Marilyn Horne and Cecilia Bartoli in recent times have substituted “Tanti affetti” from Rossini’s “La Donna Del Lago”

One favorite insertion has been The Nightingale by Alyabyev

The song became widely known after having been the substitution preferred by Pauline Viardot, Adelina Patti and Marcella Sembrich.

Somehow “Contro un core” just seems to work best because it is woven into the fabric of the scene. But clearly insertions have their place,too.

So, to help celebrate the anniversary of “Il Barbiere di Siviglia” we invite you to share you favorite insertion and either submit it on our Facebook Page or mail it to