Even before Bugs Bunny’s famous interpretation, The Barber of Seville was one of opera’s great crowd-pleasers. No one goes for the story, which is your typical boy-meets-girl, boy-must-keep-girl-from-marrying-her-wrinkly-guardian setup. It’s Rossini’s music—especially the overture, which starts out lilting and ends balls-out frenetic—that’s kept it at the top of the repertoires of countless opera companies for nearly two centuries. This fall, the Washington National Opera will amp up the piece’s crowd-pleasing factor by casting bass-baritone heartthrob Simone Alberghini in the role of Figaro, whose first entrance is accompanied by the some of the most gratuitous vocal acrobatics (“Figaro, Figaro, Figaro”) this side of Andrew Lloyd Webber—or Elmer Fudd.
The Barber of Seville runs Sept. 12–20 at The Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. Nw. $50–$600. (202) 467-4600.