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Saturday, April 11, 2015 Permalink

At The Opera, Verdi: Un Ballo in Maschera - The Masked Ball, April 11, 2015

  

Un ballo in maschera (A Masked Ball) is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi with text by Antonio Somma. However, Somma's libretto was itself based on the five act libretto which playwright Eugène Scribe had written for Daniel Auber's 1833 opera, Gustave III, ou Le bal masqué.

Scribe wrote about the assassination in 1792 of King Gustav III of Sweden who was killed as the result of a political conspiracy against him. He was shot while attending a masked ball and died 13 days later of his wounds.

It was to take over two years between the time of the commission from Naples and planned for a production there and its premiere performance at the Teatro Apollo in Rome on February 17, 1859. In order to become the Un ballo in maschera which we know today, Verdi's opera (and his libretto) was forced to undergo a significant series of transformations and title changes. Based on the Scribe libretto and begun as Gustavo III set in Sweden, it became Una vendetta in dominò set in Germany, and finally Un ballo, set not in Sweden but in Boston, Massachusetts during the colonial era. These changes were caused by a combination of censorship regulations in both Naples and Rome, as well as by the political situation in France in January 1858. It became one of the most frustrating experiences of Verdi's career.

From the mid-20th century, it has become more common for the setting to revert to its original 18th century Stockholm location. A re-creation of the original Gustavo III has been staged in Sweden.

This 1954 recording at Carnegie Hall stars Jan Peerce and Robert Merrill. Arturo Toscanini conducts the NBC Symphony and the Robert Shaw Chorale.

Playlist

8:00pm
8:00pm
Pietro Mascagni: Cavalleria rusticana, opera Intemezzo BUY Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony; Ondrej Lenard, conductor
Naxos 8550240
8:10pm
G. Verdi: Un ballo in maschera BUY NBC Symphony Orch.; Arturo Toscanini, conductor
10:00pm
10:50pm
G. Verdi: Inno delle nazioni ('Gloria dei cieli altissimi'), for voice, chorus & orchestra BUY NBC Symphony Orch.; Arturo Toscanini, conductor
11:00pm
11:05pm
G. Verdi: La forza del destino, opera: Overture BUY NBC Symphony Orch.; Arturo Toscanini, conductor
11:12pm
Verdi: I Lombardi alla prima Crociata, opera: Act 3. Trio. Orchestral opening BUY ; Toscanini, conductor
11:30pm
Wagner: Tristan Love Duet BUY n/a; n/a, conductor Kirsten Flagstad / Melchoir
11:47pm
Bizet: Ah Fond Du Temple Saint ! The Pearl Fishers BUY from The Pearl Fishers Duet; composed by Bizet
11:52pm
Verdi: Si pel Ciel - Otello BUY from Jussi Björling & Robert Merrill Perform Operatic Arias and Duets; composed by Verdi
11:56pm
Pietro Mascagni: Cavalleria rusticana, opera Intemezzo BUY Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony; Ondrej Lenard, conductor
Naxos 8550240

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