“A garden party performance—private, intimate and delightfully decadent.” – Virginia Living Magazine

2019 Performance

Stay tuned for more information

Please note: We must have an accurate list of our guests to comply with Virginia ABC laws. Consequently, we send invitations and request RSVPs, though we welcome anyone who would like to attend the opera. Please request to be added to the invitation list so we can get you up to date information!

2018 Performance

Rossini’s ​Barber of Seville


Saturday, June 16, 2018, 6:30 p.m.
413 Second Ave, Farmville, VA 23901

Tickets: $55 (includes supper and open bar)

Dress: Summer Semi-Formal

Electronic devices to stream English subtitles are welcome.


Megan Roth



Brandon Morales



Jason Buckwalter

Fiorello, Ambrogio, Sergeant


Michael Kuhn



James Harrington



Catrin Davies

Stage Director

Bill McMurray



Kimberly Christie



Chris Swanson


About the Opera

For an opera whose music is likely the most recognizable in popular culture, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville had an inauspicious beginning.

The third operatic adaptation of Pierre Beaumarchais’ 1775 comic play of the same name, Rossini’s version premiered in 1816, too closely on the heels of another composer’s popular production. His friends disrupted the debut, and combined with ill-prepared actors, Rossini’s opera seemed fated for early obscurity.

Yet the gentle comedy about separated lovers with its memorable music survived its disastrous start and became one of the world’s most popular operas. The first, in fact, to be sung in Italian in the United States in 1825, this story of an enterprising barber and matchmaker graces Farmville this June.

Set in Seville, the opera begins with Count Almaviva serenading Rosina, a young woman who is closely watched by her older guardian, Doctor Bartolo. Fearing, though, that she may love his title more than him, the young count identifies himself as Lindoro, a poor student. Rosina appears briefly at her window before being hustled away by servants.

Heartbroken, Almaviva is discovered on the street by Figaro, Seville’s barber and “fixer,” who enters singing opera’s most famous aria. Figaro tells the lovelorn nobleman that Bartolo wants to marry his ward himself, but that he can help Almaviva get access to the objection of his affection. He advises the count to disguise himself as a drunken soldier who is supposed to be billeted in Bartolo’s house. Both leave, one more optimistic, and the other, richer.

In the meantime, Rosina thinks longingly of the “student” serenading her and decides to write him a letter. However, now wise to Almaviva’s desire for his ward thanks to Rosina’s gossipy music teacher Don Basilio, the doctor decides to marry her quickly. Figaro overhears this, and warns Rosina, who gives the barber and intermediary her letter for the disguised count.

Almaviva/Lindoro arrives at the Doctor’s house disguised as a soldier and causes a ruckus in order to create a diversion so that he can woo Rosina. Bartolo foils the ruse by saying he is exempt from quartering soldiers. The count escapes arrest by discretely revealing his identity to the police and then leaves, but not before he exchanges letters with Rosina.

Figaro’s next plan to get his benefactor access to Bartolo’s house and Rosina involves disguising the “student” as a substitute music teacher. “Don Alonso” arrives and tries to win the suspicious Bartolo’s trust by sharing Rosina’s letter that he “found” and claiming that Lindoro is scheming to kidnap Rosina and sell her to Count Almaviva.

The music lesson begins, and after Rosina recognizes “Lindoro,” they express their mutual affection. Figaro arrives to shave Bartolo and manages to steal the balcony key so that the lovers can elope that night.

Everything goes awry, though, when Basilio appears. The quick-witted barber manages to convince Basilio he has scarlet fever. However, Bartolo’s suspicions are raised, and he requests a notary be sent so that he can marry Rosina that very night. The Doctor gains her assent by revealing to her the alleged plot of Lindoro and Almaviva. Distraught and vengeful, Rosina agrees to marry her guardian.

A storm mirrors the heroine’s emotional turmoil, and after it quells, Almaviva and Figaro ascend to the balcony via a ladder. She confronts the former, who reveals his true royal identity. All is forgiven between the two ecstatic lovers, but an obstacle to their elopement is discovered when it’s revealed that the ladder has been moved and that Basilio has arrived with the notary to marry Rosina to Bartolo.

When the music teacher and officiant enter Rosina’s room, the quick-thinking Figaro tells the latter to marry Rosina and the Count. Basilio balks at being a witness until persuaded by a roll of cash and an ominous looking pistol by Almaviva. They are wed, and a crestfallen Bartolo accepts reality and blesses the young couple.

Featuring disguises among disguises and memorable aria after aria, the Summer Garden Opera is proud to share the comedy and music of The Barber of Seville with you this year!


centra helton house


Jackie & Chris Sadler


Naomi and Greg Tsigaridas
Jennifer Wall
Cynthia Wood
The Fishin Pig
Longwood B&B
Green Front Furniture—Den and Dickie Cralle
Letterpress Communications

Board Members

Harlan Horton, President
Christopher Swanson, Vice-President and Music Director
Kevin Wetzel, Director of Artistic Activities
Kerry Mossler
Julie Ross, Treasurer
Rob Wade
John Miller
Kirsten Huber

Gounod’s Faust

Puccini’s La Boheme

Donizetti’s L’Elisir D’Amore

Previous Performers

Jason Buckwalter, baritone 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
Lisa Edwards-Burrs, soprano 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
Adam Caughey, tenor 2012
Jennifer Capaldo, mezzo-soprano 2010, 2011
Kim Christie, soprano 2017
Fran Coleman, soprano 2014, 2015
Jan Cornelius, soprano 2010, 2016
Catrin Davies, mezzo-soprano 2017
Jared Dawdy, baritone (understudy) 2013, 2015
Kevin Doherty, baritone 2011, 2012, 2014
Kyle Ferrill, baritone 2013
Lexa Ferrill, mezzo-soprano 2013
Sarah Fitch, mezzo-soprano 2012, 2014
Ben Leclair, bass 2016, 2017
Scott MacLeod, baritone 2010, 2013
Lisa Lockhart, soprano 2012
Bill McMurray, baritone 2011, 2014, 2015
Chris Swanson, tenor 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
Kevin Wetzel, tenor 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017
Jordan Wiley, actor/tenor 2014, 2015
Erin Wind, mezzo-soprano 2011
Katy Wolfe Zahn, mezzo-soprano 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Lisa Kinzer, pianist 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
Pam McDermott, chorus master 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
Catrin Davies, stage director 2017
Kevin Wetzel, assistant 2017

Contact Us

General Inquiries
Harlan Horton
(434) 391-1014


Music and Performance Inquiries
Chris Swanson
(434) 414-6674


Checks mailed to
Summer Garden Opera, c/o Julie Ross
600 Buffalo Street, Farmville, VA, 23901
or you may pay at the door