Although Beaumarchais’s play The Marriage of Figaro had been banned from the Viennese stage, it was still available in print. Mozart was very mindful of the success the Italian composer Paisiello had with his own operatic version of Figaro’s predecessor, The Barber of Seville. In the two plays, the wily barber Figaro aids his master, the Count Almaviva, to win the hand of the fair Rosina. After that, Figaro leaves his hairdressing profession to become the Count’s personal valet. The bitter criticisms of the ruling class caused the plays to be suppressed for three years and their author briefly imprisoned, but the public demand for its sparkling wit remained unabated. Mozart trimmed off the controversial elements of the original play, and produced what is considered by many to be his most perfect opera.