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Host Sean Bianco brings you a full-length opera featuring great voices from the past and present followed by “Opera Potpourri.”
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 ballroom dance 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 Stockholm, it became Una vendetta in domino set in Stettin, and finally Un ballo in maschera set in Boston 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.
Riccardo – Carlo Bergonzi
Renato – Robert Merrill
Amelia – Leontyne Price
Ulrica – Shirley Verrett
RCA Italian Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Erich Leinsdorf – conductor
RCA studio recording - 1967