Italian operatic baritone Leo Nucci sings “Largo al factotum” (Make way for the factotum) from Gioachino Rossini’s “Il barbiere di Siviglia” (The Barber of Seville), an opera buffa in two acts.

Largo al factotum (BIS) – Leo Nucci (Il Barbiere di Siviglia-Rossini)

Born on 16 April 1942, Leo Nucci has enjoyed a long and successful career and is still active. His repertoire encompasses the entire Italian repertory from bel canto to verismo, but his sonorous voice, secure technique, and dramatic abilities are best displayed in Verdi – notably as Rigoletto, Macbeth, Count di Luna, Giorgio Germont, Rodrigo, Amonasro, Iago, and Falstaff. He has sung the role of Rigoletto alone more than 400 times.

Largo al factotum

“Largo al factotum” is a famous aria from Gioachino Rossini’s opera “Il Barbiere di Siviglia” (“The Barber of Seville”), which premiered in 1816. This piece is known for its energetic and lively style, showcasing the singer’s vocal agility and endurance. The aria is sung by the character Figaro, a barber, who is the focal point of the opera.

The title “Largo al factotum” translates to “Make way for the factotum” (a factotum being a person who does many different types of work). In this aria, Figaro introduces himself and describes his various roles within the community. He boasts about his importance, popularity, and the many demands for his services. The aria is characterized by its rapid pace and tongue-twisting lyrics, making it both a showcase for the singer’s talent and a source of comic relief within the opera.

A few key features of “Largo al factotum” include:

  1. Vocal Demands: The aria is demanding, requiring the baritone to perform quick, articulate, and powerful vocal runs. It’s a test of a singer’s technical skill, breath control, and ability to maintain energy and charisma throughout.
  2. Rhythmic and Lyrical Playfulness: The music is playful and rhythmic, mirroring the swagger and confidence of Figaro. The lyrics are filled with repeated phrases like “Figaro, Figaro, Figaro!”, underscoring his self-importance.
  3. Characterization of Figaro: Through this aria, Rossini effectively establishes Figaro’s character as witty, resourceful, and self-assured. It’s an excellent example of how music in opera can be used to develop and communicate character.
  4. Musical Style: The aria reflects Rossini’s style, which is known for its sparkling melodies, clear structures, and often rapid, lively tempo.

In terms of performance, “Largo al factotum” is a favorite among baritones and is often included in concerts and recitals as a showpiece. It’s also one of the most recognized pieces in the operatic repertoire, synonymous with the comic opera genre.

In terms of cultural impact, this aria, and “The Barber of Seville” as a whole, has influenced not just the world of opera but also popular culture. Its tunes and characters have been referenced in various films, cartoons, and other media, making it a piece of music that resonates far beyond the opera house.

This aria represents a blend of technical skill, humor, and musical storytelling that is central to the operatic tradition. Its enduring popularity speaks to Rossini’s genius in creating music that is both artistically sophisticated and broadly appealing.

Largo al factotum lyrics [text]


Largo al factotum della città.
Presto a bottega che l’alba è già.
Ah, che bel vivere, che bel piacere
per un barbiere di qualità! di qualità!

Ah, bravo Figaro!
Bravo, bravissimo!
Fortunatissimo per verità!

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

Rasori e pettini
lancette e forbici,
al mio comando
tutto qui sta.
V’è la risorsa,
poi, del mestiere
colla donnetta… col cavaliere…

Tutti mi chiedono, tutti mi vogliono,
donne, ragazzi, vecchi, fanciulle:
Qua la parrucca… Presto la barba…
Qua la sanguigna…
Presto il biglietto…

Qua la parrucca, presto la barba,
Presto il biglietto, ehi!

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

Pronto prontissimo son come il fulmine:
sono il factotum della città.
Ah, bravo Figaro! Bravo, bravissimo;
a te fortuna non mancherà.

English Translation

Make way for the factotum of the city,
Hurrying to his shop since dawn is already here.
Ah, what a fine life, what fine pleasure
For a barber of quality!

Ah, bravo Figaro!
Bravo, bravissimo!
A most fortunate man indeed!

Ready to do everything
Night and day,
Always on the move.
A cushier fate for a barber,
A more noble life is not to be had.

Razors and combs,
Lancets and scissors,
At my command
Everything’s there.
Here are the tools
Of my trade
With the ladies… with the gentlemen…

Everyone asks for me, everyone wants me,
Ladies, young lads, old men, young girls:
Here is the wig… the beard is ready…
Here are the leeches…
The note is ready…

Here is the wig, the beard is ready,
The note is ready, hey!

Figaro! Figaro! Figaro!, etc.
Ah, what frenzy!
Ah, what a crowd!
One at a time, please!
Hey, Figaro! I’m here.
Figaro here, Figaro there,
Figaro up, Figaro down,

Swifter and swifter, I’m like a thunderbolt:
I’m the factotum of the city.
Ah, bravo, Figaro! Bravo, bravissimo,
You’ll never lack luck!


M. Özgür Nevres

Published by M. Özgür Nevres

I am Özgür Nevres, a software engineer, a former road racing cyclist, and also an amateur musician. I opened to share my favorite music. I also take care of stray cats & dogs. This website's all income goes directly to our furry friends. Please consider supporting me on Patreon, so I can help more animals!

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