Largo al factotum

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"Largo al factotum" (Make way for the factotum) is an aria from The Barber of Seville by Gioachino Rossini, sung at the first entrance of the title character; the repeated "Figaro"s before the final patter section are an icon in popular culture of operatic singing. The term "factotum" refers to a general servant and comes from the Latin where it literally means "do everything."

Due to the constant singing of triplets in 6/8 meter at an allegro vivace tempo, the piece is often noted as one of the most difficult baritone arias to perform. This, along with the tongue-twisting nature of some of the lines, insisting on Italian superlatives (always ending in '-issimo'), have made it a pièce de résistance in which a skilled baritone has the chance to highlight all of his qualities.

Libretto[edit]

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!
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!
Fortunatissimo per verità!
Ah, bravo Figaro!
Bravo, bravissimo!
A most fortunate man indeed!
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.
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.
Rasori e pettini
lancette e forbici,
al mio comando
tutto qui sta.
V'è la risorsa,
poi, del mestiere
colla donnetta... col cavaliere...
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...
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!
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!, ecc.
Ahimè, che furia!
Ahimè, che folla!
Uno alla volta, per carità!
Ehi, Figaro! Son qua.
Figaro qua, Figaro là,
Figaro su, Figaro giù.
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,
Pronto prontissimo son come il fulmine:
sono il factotum della città.
Ah, bravo Figaro! Bravo, bravissimo;
a te fortuna non mancherà.
Swifter and swifter, I'm like a thunderbolt:
I'm the factotum of the city.
Ah, bravo Figaro! Bravo, bravissimo,
You'll never lack for luck!

In popular culture[edit]

The opera's overture and this aria have been famously parodied in animated cartoons starring Woody Woodpecker (The Barber of Seville), Bugs Bunny (Rabbit of Seville and Long-Haired Hare), Porky Pig and Daffy Duck (You Ought to Be in Pictures), Sylvester (Back Alley Oproar), Tom and Jerry (The Cat Above and the Mouse Below), as well as in Tex Avery's Magical Maestro, Warner Bros' One Froggy Evening and 20th Century Fox's Mrs. Doubtfire.

External links[edit]