It’s known that during the Romantic century (19th century) in Europe and Spain many plays, novels and operas were created that now are part of our culture as classics. Some of them were adapted to be films, plays, paintings and other artistic productions.

But many people ask why Seville had been an inspiration source for these authors that visited and walked its streets, and it’s not a simple question to answer. The romantics fallen in love of Seville because of the exotic charm of the city that was very difficult to find in other European countries. People used Seville as a place to escape from reality, from this rationalism that governs the way of thinking in this period, because we couldn’t forgot that Romanticism appears as an answer for the Illustration Ideas crisis.  

The last research made by experts in 2012 account for 153 operas whose inspiration source was our city, Sevilla, and was published in a book: “Seville, city of 150 Operas”.

Even if you walk in some streets of the center town, you would find some nameplates on the floor with this inscription: "Seville, Opera's city". These show us places which were inspired or developed some scenes of these operas.

Today we’ll tell you details about 5 of them selected from all possible operas.



About all the operas inspired on Seville, maybe it’s the most popular. You can read in the script’s first page, written by Cesare Sterbini, a sentence that says: “a square of Seville, just before sunrise”, giving many clues about the inspiration place. It had its Premiere as an opera in Rome, in 1816. Is based on a Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais comedy, and is one of the great comedy works in the music, also it’s on number seven of the most interpreted operas. 

Fígaro, is the main character and the most famous barber of the city, and is called by his friend, Almaviva Count, to help him to resolve a problem: The lady he is completely in love with, Rosina, is going to be married with other man, and he could be her father. Fígaro and Almaviva will try to avoid the celebration of the wedding.

Other curiosity: If you want to know where is the balcony were the author writes the poetry to Rosina, in Alfaro's Square you will find a beautiful old palace house (now it’s a hotel) with a romantic balcony, perfect to create this scene. Also nowadays known as “Rosina’s Balcony”.


  1. THE FIGARO’S WEDDING OR “LE NOZZE DE FIGARO” (original Italian title)

Considered one of Mozart's best creations, the opera had its premiere in Vienna, in 1786. It’s “The Barber of Seville'' second part, and narrates Figaro and Susana’s wedding. Susana is the Almaviva Count housekeeper, and the Count is looking for the young Susana, the fianceé of Fígaro, while he is already married to Rosina. That's why the storyline is developed in Almaviva's Palace.

Among all the operas played in 2013, this is the number eight in the list.



“La Favorite '' is a grand opera with four acts, with Donizetti music and the screenplay writed in French by Alphonse Royer, Gustave Vaëz and Eugène Scribe. It 's based on the play “Le Comte de Comminges” (1764) by François-Thomas-Marie de Baculard d’Arnaud. It’s premiere was in 1840 in París Opera.

The whole story happened in Spain, in 1340 when Castille and Portugal teamed up to fight against the Muslisms in “Salado’s Battle”. The character of Alfonso the eleventh  of Castille is involved in a love triangle between the lover (his favorite) Leonor of Guzman, and the lover of her, Ferdinand. The background of the play are the fighting of power between the Church and the Estate, and also the fighting against the Muslims, meanwhile the story is happening. The acts take place in different parts of Spanish geography. In Seville two acts (Second and third act) were developed in the Royal Alcazar Gardens, and some of the main characters were historical figures in Spanish and Sevillian History.



It’s probably one of the most emblematic operas based on Seville, around the Royal Tobacco’s Factory in 1820. It’s melody is very well known and was composed by Bizet, and the script by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy in French. It had its premiere in Paris, 1875. The opera is based in “Carmen” a novel by Prosper Merimée in 1845, at the same time based on a narrative poem by Aleksandr Pushkin, “The Gypsies” (1824).

Carmen was a cigarette maker from the Royal Tobacco’s Factory, also, according to the different versions, she was gypsy. We don’t really know if she was gypsy or only a strong character lady and with big independent, because both versions didn’t suit the society at the time and it depends on the novel version you read.

The storyline starts when one day, a new serviceman was seduced by Carmen, and later he had to bring her to the jail by a big argument she had with a workmate.

Both, the opera and the novel, are an imitation about the story of a lot of women with the Carmen characteristics in this time who had to live, but under the critical and patriarchal watch of the situation and the period. 

Personally, we find Carmen more "flamenca" than opera character, but was the trendy in these days. This story, besides being a novel and opera, also had a film version made by Vicente Aranda, a Spanish film director.



Based on Don Juan Tenorio myth, was in charge of Mozart after the successful opera “The Figaro’s wedding”. Don Giovanni was the most celebrated opera in the Romantic century, and also one of the most international hispanic myths.

The premiere was in Praga, in 1787, and it’s the seventh between the most played around the world, and the third by Mozart. Although it's a tragicomedy, it also includes mix of melodrama and supernatural elements. 

Around Don Giovanni nowadays still setting out new questions about the tragic ends and the complicated position that really occupied his feminine conquests, either as accessory, victims or conciliatory.



Sources: Sevilla Secreta | Teatro Real | La Opera

Photography: Medici TV | Sevilla ABC | Málaga hoy | Blog El café de la Ópera. | El Mundo |